Dutch bid to ward off KSA curbs
AMSTERDAM: Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans is to visit Saudi Arabia to ward off possible trade sanctions against the Netherlands.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Timmermans will make clear during the visit that anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders’ views are his own and do not represent the position of the Dutch government.
The decision to send a top member of the Dutch government came a day after a senior Dutch diplomat returned from a two-day trip to Saudi Arabia.
“The visit by our director general to Riyadh was a good first step,” the ministry spokesman said.
“The Netherlands and Saudi Arabia share the opinion that this issue should not take hostage of the relations between our countries.”
Wilders wants to halt immigration from Islamic countries to the Netherlands and exit the European Union.
Bilateral trade between the countries came to nearly $5 billion in 2010 and the Netherlands accounted for nearly 4 percent of foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia that year, the Dutch government said.