Friday, May 30, 2014 - 09:05
Wilders' anti-Saudi sticker sent in Parliament stationary to Saudis
When Geert Wilders sent his anti-Saudi and anti-Islam bumper sticker to the Saudi Arabian embassy, he did so using official stationary of the Parliament. The use of the government’s logo angered Saudi officials who might have otherwise dismissed Wilders’ personal crusade, revealed Foreign Affairs Minister Frans Timmermans following this week’s cabinet meeting. “One of the things that concerns them is that he puts that huge sticker and the cover letter in an envelope from the Twede Kamer,” he said. The Twede Kamer is the lower house of parliament in the Netherlands. Timmermans said this led the Saudis to believe that the anti-Saudi message came from the government, and not solely from Wilders. Wilders, head of the political party PVV, uses his public position to consistently rally against the Islamic faith, minority groups in the Netherlands, and immigrants from North African countries. “I do not think confusion amongst Saudi authorities remains, but it is regarded as an affront,” Timmermans said. Speaking anonymously, one Parliament official told the Volkskrant newspaper that it is “absolutely unusual” for political parties to send their own messages using Parliamentary stationary. “[We] do not benefit from a further escalation of this issue,” Timmermans said. However, “There are some hardliners who really cannot simply let go of the situation.” Timmermans, who was forced to conduct damage control in Saudi Arabia, said he hopes the matter will be resolved soon. After the Saudis threatened sanctions against the Netherlands, a group of Dutch companies operating in the Middle East took out ads in Saudi newspapers condemning Wilders.