Belgium urged diplomats to vote for Saudi Arabia in UN women’s rights commission – leaked emails
Leaked emails show that the Belgian delegation was instructed in advance to vote for the appointment of Saudi Arabia to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), and to make sure its support was known to the Saudis, UN Watch reports.
The leaked documents, cited by Belgian news network 7sur7 and UN Watch, reveal that Belgian diplomats had been instructed to follow “clean slate” procedures and provide “support to the candidates for the various positions during the secret vote.”
Moreover, the cabinet of Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders wanted the delegation to seek the opportunity “to inform the various candidates, including Saudi Arabia” about its support, despite the vote being secret.
According to internal emails leaked on Friday by the Green Party, the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was informed of the vote at the 45-member UN body far in advance, and at least nine hours passed before it replied. Information about the US-called vote on Saudi membership in the commission was sent at 12:33am, and the ministry replied at 3:34pm. Given possible delays, “at the very least” nine hours had passed, UN Watch reports.
This contradicts Belgium’s previous position, voiced by Prime Minister Charles Michel, that the delegation was caught unawares by the sudden vote, and did not have enough time to consult with Brussels. Michel publicly regretted the move.
The Belgian foreign minister also maintained that there had been some sort of miscommunication, as he said that he “personally” was not aware of the voting procedure underway.
Following his statements, the foreign minister came under fire both in the country’s parliament and on social media. The opposition Socialist Party called for his “eventual resignation” if it turned out that he “lied” about the decision to vote in favor of Saudi Arabia, according to Belgian newspaper Le Soir.
Discontent with Reynders was also evident on Twitter.
Further Reading: https://www.rt.com/news/386817-belgium-leak-saudi-arabia/?utm_source=spotim&utm_medium=spotim_recirculation&spotim_referrer=recirculation