On Monday March 1, a donor conference on Yemen was organized by the UN in cooperation with Sweden and Switzerland. Minister for Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir announced a contribution of €5 million to support the Yemen Humanitarian Fund. "It is important that we continue to pay attention to the needs of ordinary Yemenis who are suffering greatly from this humanitarian crisis that has now lasted for more than six years," Kitir said. "This is the time to show international solidarity."
On Monday, 22 February, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès addressed the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva during its high-level segment. The Conference on Disarmament, of which Belgium is a permanent member, was established in 1979. To date, it is the only multilateral instrument dedicated to the negotiation of disarmament agreements. Disarmament and non-proliferation are crucial issues for international peace and security and as such constitute a priority for Belgium's foreign policy.
Today, February 22, the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council started in Geneva and will continue until March 23. On this occasion, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sophie addressed the ministerial part of the session. She presented the priorities of the Belgian government and shared some reflections on the current challenges in the field of human rights.
Today, February 22nd, in the context of the Belgian Presidency of the Benelux, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès invited the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ms. Fatou Bensouda, and her fellow EU Foreign Ministers for an informal meeting with the 27 EU Ministers ahead of the monthly Foreign Affairs Council. Ms. Bensouda started her mandate as Prosecutor in 2012 and will finish it in June this year.
On the occasion of the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès reaffirms Belgium's commitment to improving the protection of children in armed conflict. The United Nations aims to improve the situation of these children by addressing the six most serious violations of children's rights: killing and maiming, sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools or hospitals, denial of access to humanitarian aid and finally, the recruitment of child soldiers.
January 26, 2021 marks the centenary of our country's diplomatic relations with Estonia and Latvia, whose independence Belgium recognized in 1921. Belgium maintained this historic decision during the decades following the Second World War and stood by these countries when they regained their independence in 1991.
This Tuesday January 26, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès met the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, H.E. Mr. Níkos Déndias, during his visit to Brussels. The two ministers were able to exchange their experience in the management of the COVID-19 epidemic in their respective countries and their views on major European issues.
On Monday, January 25, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, H.E. Mr. Anze Logar, during his visit to Brussels. It was a first meeting with her counterpart. The bilateral relationship between Belgium and Slovenia, beyond the European framework, is excellent.
On Monday January 25, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sophie Wilmès, participated with her counterparts to the Foreign Affairs Council held in Brussels. It began with exchanges on topical issues during which the European ministers discussed the political situation in several regions of the world, but also the future of transatlantic relations or the European strategy to facilitate access by third countries to vaccines against COVID-19. An exchange of views was also held with the Japanese Foreign Minister, H.E. Toshimitsu Motegi.
This month, Belgium takes over the presidency of the Benelux for one year. Initially, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès was to present the priorities of this presidency at a ceremony in Brussels in the presence of her Dutch and Luxembourg colleagues Stef Blok and Jean Asselborn, but given the sanitary evolution and the outbreak of new variants, this meeting has been canceled.