Belgium: Moroccan PM insults female minister, Moroccan-Belgian MPs want Belgian response
Moroccan PM Abdelilah Benkirane recently met in Rabat with two Belgian ministers: Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders (MR) and Justice Minister Annemie Turtelboom (Open Vld). However, during the meeting he barely paid attention to Turtleboom, and instead focused on her male colleague, Reynders. Benkirane praised Reynders' French, and told him he 'didn't have to come with an interpreter'. Turtleboom made it clear who she was, but Benkirane continued to ignore her.
Turtleboom was upset, but swallowed the insult since she didn't want to cause a diplomatic row. Moroccan-Belgian MPs say her reaction is unblievable, and that Belgium should respond.
Yamila Idrissi (sp.a) and Nadia Sminate (N-VA) say that Turtleboom should have walked out of the meeting. But Idrissi says it's not too late for a response. "Belgium shouldn't leave things like that and make a point of it," she told Het Laatste Nieuws. "This is outrageous and unacceptable."
Sminate agrees. "This is disappointing from a strong woman like Annemie Turtelboom. If this isn't worth a row, than what is? Turtleboom should have responded .. this is a bad message for Moroccan women in Belgium."