Saturday 28 May 2022

PVV election loss may soothe Saudi Arabian anger: minister

Foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans told the cabinet on Friday he hopes the losses sustained by Geert Wilders’ PVV in the Euro elections will help in talks with Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis are furious about a sticker based on their national flag which Wilders stuck on his office door reading, in Arabic: Islam is a lie, Mohammad is a criminal, the Koran is poison. The sticker is a deliberate copy of the Saudi flag.

On Thursday, there were rumours the Saudi government would be imposing sanctions on the Netherlands, although these have yet to be confirmed.

The Dutch government has already distanced itself from the sticker, saying it is not responsible for the actions of the PVV party leader.

Large majority

‘It may well be that the election result will help in this matter,’ the Nos quotes Timmermans as saying. ‘A large majority of the Dutch population does not support the sticker.’

A top foreign affairs ministry official will be in Saudi Arabia to discuss the situation on Sunday and Monday. Timmermans will visit the country in the near future.

Addressing the rumours of a boycott, Timmermans said: ‘I am hearing from Dutch companies that they are no longer winning contracts there.’

Exit polls following Thursday’s elections for the European parliament show that Wilders’ anti-Islam party is likely to decline from 17% of the vote at the previous election to 12.2% this time. This will translate into a loss of two seats, down from five to three.




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