Today, Belgium is sending 760,000 masks to Conakry via the emergency aid mechanism B-FAST. In doing so, our country is responding to the request for aid that Guinea submitted to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) as part of the fight against COVID-19. Like the rest of the world, Guinea has been affected by the pandemic. However, the health situation is further complicated by a measles epidemic, an epidemic of yellow fever and recently also some new Ebola infections which together put an enormous strain on the medical facilities.
From today onwards, Belgium will chair the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on emerging technologies in the area of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems, the so-called “Killer Robots”. This group of experts, which meets within the framework of the Convention on certain conventional weapons in Geneva, aims to clarify the legal, technological and military issues raised by these new technologies, mainly with regard to respect for international humanitarian law.
Today, the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announces the figures for Official Development Assistance (ODA) for the past year. The most important donors for international cooperation are represented in this Development Assistance Committee.
Five months after the start of the conflict in Tigray, more and more testimonies about extreme violence are coming forward. Therefore, Minister of Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir has decided to increase the funds for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) by four million euros specifically for the reception and protection of victims.
On Thursday 1 April, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès spoke with her counterpart Gabrielius Landsbergis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania. The two ministers reviewed the bilateral and regional cooperation, including between the Benelux countries and the Baltic States, of which they each hold the Presidency. Finally, the two ministers discussed several international issues on the European agenda, notably Belarus, China and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 30, 2021, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès co-chaired with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken a virtual ministerial meeting of the International Coalition to defeat Daesh. This meeting in restricted format brings together the 32 States and international organizations most involved in its action.
On the occasion of the fifth Brussels Conference on Syria ('Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region'), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès and Minister of Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir announced today 18 million euro in additional humanitarian aid for the Syrian people. They stressed that a permanent solution to the conflict is only possible if all parties involved take responsibility and return to credible diplomatic negotiations.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès received her American counterpart Antony Blinken at the Egmont Palace today for a first bilateral meeting. Both ministers participated in the NATO ministerial for the past two days. It is Secretary Blinken's first visit to Europe since the Biden administration took office.