Expatica news

PM demands trials for US terror detainees

18 January 2006

BRUSSELS — Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt called on US President George W. Bush on Tuesday to ensure that suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba are given a trial.

The Belgian leader said giving a trial to Guantanamo detainees would enhance the reputation of the US among European public opinion.

Verhofstadt met Bush at the White House while on a five-day working visit to the US aimed primarily at drumming at US investment in Belgium.

However, the leaders also discussed transatlantic relations, the role of the EU and Europe’s attempts to establish its own defence force. The Iran nuclear issue also came up for discussion.

Bush also thanked Belgium for the leading role it had played in efforts to bring peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

However, mountain biker Bush seemed to have been more intent on discussing cycling during the one-hour meeting, declaring at a press conference that “we’re talking about mountain biking. He [Verhofstadt] talked about the Tour de France”.

Some Washington commentators subsequently noted that very little seems to have come from Verhofstadt’s attempt at serious discussion, the website Brussels Review reported.

However, accompanied by Finance Minister Didier Reynders, Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht and State Secretary for Administrative Reform Vincent Van Quickenborne, the trip by Verhofstadt is primarily an economic visit.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news