Dutch Queen 'must visit Oman because of economic interests'
Queen Beatrix’ visit to Oman must go ahead to safeguard a major defence contract, left-of-centre newspaper writes. At stake is an order worth hundreds of millions of euros for four naval vessels to be built by Dutch shipyard Damen Schelde.
quotes an official at the foreign ministry who said: “We want to support the strategy of Damen Schelde. This cabinet is putting strong emphasis on economic diplomacy”.
The queen’s visit was originally intended as an official state visit with a trade mission in tow. Last week, the government decided to postpone the state visit due to the political unrest in the Gulf state. Instead, the queen is to attend a private dinner hosted by Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said on Tuesday.
On Sunday, Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders twittered that he thought it was ‘very stupid’ of the Queen to have dinner with the ‘despicable’ sultan. Mr Wilders pointed to the hundreds of people taking part in political protests in Oman.
Populist newspaper writes that the Omani protesters are actually in favour of the Dutch queen’s visit. The paper conducted a survey among the protesters and the majority said they were not protesting against the sultan but against the Omani cabinet. Dutch businesses are reportedly warmly welcomed as they provide employment and development.
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