Expatica news

Walloon minister refuses arms to Pakistan deal

20 May 2005
BRUSSELS – A Belgian company has been refused an export licence to sell military equipment to Pakistan.

Walloon International Relations Minister Marie-Dominique Simonet turned down the firm New Lachaussee’s bid to sell a press for a munitions factory.

The Liege company was so confident it would get the green light for the deal – which amounted to EUR 1 million – that the packages were already waiting to be loaded on a boat at Antwerp port.

The refusal comes just three weeks after a row surrounding another export licence for the company.

Federal Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht publicly criticised Simonet for approving a deal in January to see New Lachaussee building a weapons factory in Tanzania.

The licence was finally put on ice and a decision will be taken on the deal in three months’ time.

Simonet defended her rejection of the Pakistan deal, despite the fact that the country is officially on the side of western governments in the fight against terrorism.

The minister is to justify her decision before the Walloon parliamentary commission, which will sit in camera.

She is likely to point out that several other European countries have decided to refuse to sell arms to Pakistan.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news