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Belgian PM pins hopes on talks

Published on September 25, 2008

25 September 2008

BRUSSELS — Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian democrat) gave his first interview Tuesday since his Flemish Christian democrats parted with the Flemish Nationalist NVA party.

Leterme has his sights clearly on the future. He does not believe this is a time to stand on the sidelines.

The prime minister says while he is disappointed the two parties will go their separate way, he is now pinning all his hopes on the dialogue between the communities and fresh state reforms.

Leterme – co-founder of the alliance – says that it was a one-sided decision on the part of the NVA to break ranks, but he sees no point in slinging mud now.

The prime minister says the breaking up of two Flemish parties on Sunday is a weakening of the Flemish position in this country. He added he was not afraid of getting his hands dirty in a bid to press through state reforms.

Leterme concedes he contemplated about resigning, but does not believe that would have been in the interest of achieving true state reforms.

Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht (Flemish liberal) thinks that talks with Francophones will now be easier after the nationalists have walked out, but Leterme does not believe this will change anything.

[flandersnews.be / Expatica]