Belgian and Dutch foreign ministers discuss Russian aggression in Ukraine

On the sidelines of the three-day Dutch state visit to Belgium, Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib met with her Dutch counterpart, Wopke Hoekstra, on Tuesday afternoon. Issues discussed included Russian aggression in Ukraine and the fight against impunity, both ministers reported on Twitter.

"The Netherlands and Belgium continue their efforts to hold Russia accountable for its numerous crimes," Hoekstra reported in his tweet. Lahbib reports discussing "the current geopolitical context, including EU-China relations, Russian aggression in Ukraine, the impact on Africa and the fight against impunity". In his announcement, Hoekstra also underlined the importance of EU unity on support for Ukraine.

"The Netherlands and Belgium continue their efforts to hold Russia accountable for its numerous crimes"

The ministers also discussed the priorities of the Belgian EU presidency in the first half of 2024. Finally, Lahbib and Hoekstra emphasised their "close Benelux cooperation".

Unrelated to the Dutch state visit, Lahbib has recently come under fire regarding the controversy surrounding an Iranian delegation that was allowed to attend the Brussels Urban Summit this month. The affair has already led to the resignation of Brussels state secretary Pascal Smet.

Lahbib said on Tuesday that, before its decision to allow visas for the Iranian delegation, her cabinet consulted with that of prime minister Alexander De Croo. Both cabinets concluded that, diplomatically, there was no choice but to grant visas since the Iranians had been officially invited to the Brussels Urban Summit by the organisers. De Croo made it clear on Monday that, as far as he is concerned, Lahbib bears no responsibility for the presence of the Iranian delegation at the summit.



Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib pictured ahead of a meeting on the first day of the official state visit of the Dutch royal couple to Belgium © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS

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