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Belgium's FM apologises for supporting Saudi Arabia's election to UN Women's Right Commission

May 3, 2017 at 10:56 am

Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, has apologised before the Belgian Parliament after his country voted in favour of Saudi Arabia’s election to the UN Women’s Rights Commission.

Local media said Reynders emphasised during his speech before the Belgian Federal Parliament on his commitment to defending human rights and equality between men and women.

The minister also stressed that he is ready to hold a debate on relations between Belgium and Saudi Arabia and supported an arms embargo on the kingdom.

Read: Allowing Saudi women to drive a ‘sovereign’ decision

Reynders said federal authorities in Belgium would not support developing cooperation with Saudi Arabia unless relations between the two countries were clarified.

The election of Saudi Arabia to membership of the UN Women’s Rights Commission for the period from 2018-22 has raised questions in the West, especially after the kingdom was recorded at the bottom of the international gender equality list in 2016.

According to media reports, 47 out of the 54 United Nations Economic and Social Council member states voted in favour of Saudi Arabia.

According to UN Watch at least four other European countries said yes to Saudi Arabia in a secret vote.