Belgium and US mark 175 years of diplomatic relations

9th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

The two countries celebrated their good relations on Tuesday in a special ceremony.

9 April 2008

BELGIUM - Belgium and the United States marked 175 years of Belgian-US diplomatic relations on Tuesday.

During a special ceremony the Belgian jazz musician Toots Thielemans played the American national anthem. The audience included dignitaries from both sides of the pond commemorating the fact that Belgium and the U.S. have enjoyed good relations for 175 years.

The U.S. ambassador to Belgium, Sam Fox, told his audience that Belgium was an important actor that played an impressive role on the world stage.

He pointed to the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Lebanon and Africa. He conceded that the two nations did not always see eye to eye, but added that that was nothing exceptional in a relationship like this.

Fox said that he was convinced anti-American feelings did not predominate in Belgium.

The audience was also treated to a film entitled "From Explorer Ships to Partnerships, a Celebration of 175 Years of U.S.-Belgian Relations". The film will later be shown in secondary schools in Belgium and the States.

It tells the tale of how Belgians who emigrated from Antwerp played an important role in the development of the US. One of the other historical figures featured is the Belgian Peter Minuit, who purchased Manhattan from Native Americans.

"More US-friendly"
Commentators in Belgium believe the U.S. administration will find greater understanding for its positions in the new Belgian government.

Belgian defence minister Pieter De Crem thinks that the dispatch of Belgian F-16 fighter jets to Afghanistan is proof of a new approach and a more American-friendly attitude.

De Crem told reporters that he sees Belgium and the U.S. as partners who can bring peace and stability to the world.

[ / Expatica]

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