World Bulletin/News Desk
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans is to visit Saudi Arabia to ward off possible trade sanctions against the Netherlands prompted by anti-Islamic stickers distributed by far-right politician Geert Wilders.
A foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday that Timmermans will make clear during the visit that Wilders' views are his own and do not represent the position of the Dutch government.
The Saudi authorities have not announced any official sanctions on the Netherlands, one of the Gulf Arab kingdom's largest investors. But Saudi media reported last week that measures had already been imposed on Dutch companies.
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 to prevent the issue from escalating.
"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, the leader of the opposition, anti-immigration Dutch Freedom Party, known by its Dutch acronym PVV, came in second place in Dutch elections for the European Parliament last week.
Wilders, who wants to halt immigration from Islamic countries to the Netherlands and exit the European Union, printed stickers in the colours of the Saudi flag in December bearing slogans derogatory to Islam.
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.
Some 69 children were among those arrested by Israel last month
The militant was convicted of killing a number of police and army personnel in Nineveh province
If US officials confirm "the offer for the FBI to investigate links in Florida with the assassination plan... I would agree for the FBI to come here," Maduro said at an event with top military leaders late on Saturday.
Move comes after US re-imposed first round of economic sanctions on Iran, targeting country’s banking sector
Move comes few days after Pakistan, Russia signed agreement for military officers’ training
More than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since March
Clothing retailer’s advertising campaign on YouTube receives more than 1 million hits
Officer Mike Moore tells group of African Americans 'you don’t belong in my city'
‘Terrorists’ attempted to infiltrate Iraqi territory from Syria, Defense Ministry says
US President Donald Trump said Friday he had doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, adding to pressure on that nation's troubled economy amid a diplomatic row with Washington.
Fredericton police in eastern Canada calls on public to stay in their homes with doors locked for safety
Italian Foreign Ministry called on all parties to respect cease-fire
New poll suggests widespread discontent over PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to blockaded Gaza
Counter-terrorist air operation carried out in northern Iraq's Hakurk region, says Turkish General Staff
Results of manual recount compatible with electronic tally, says Iraqi electoral commission