Thursday, July 2, 2009
Why should Ahmed Aboutaleb not meet the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Morocco?
A political row started today between the Mayor of Rotterdam, who visited Cassablanca this week, and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxime Verhagen.
Last year, when world media was all on Geert Wilders and the coming out of his film Fitna, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen sent Social Affairs State Secretary Ahmed Aboutaleb to represent the Dutch government at an EU meeting with the Arab League in the Maltese capital Valetta.
Verhagen had asked Aboutaleb to deputise for him, according to Aboutaleb. He gave as a reason that they "sometimes exchange ideas about the Middle East" but acknowledged that the fact that he is an Arab and a Muslim played a role. "It sometimes goes a bit easier if you get it in a word," said the state secretary. He holds Moroccan as well as Dutch citizenship.
Today Verhagen is "very angry" because Ahmed Aboutaleb, who is now the Mayor of Rotterdam, had a meeting with the minister for foreign affairs of Morocco while he was visiting his country of origin.
Apparently Maxime Verhagen, the Foreign Affairs Minister, has become very nervous because of the rise of Geert Wilders in the polls. He apparently needs to start a war of words with this important Dutch politician of Moroccan origin to gain back some of his standing with the xenophobic voters in the gutters of for instance Rotterdam and the Hague.
Or is it frustration because of the fact that Dutch-American relations were better under Bush? Apparently Maxime Verhagen, an important CDA politician, thinks he and his party can gain from attacking this politician of Moroccan origin, who the Guardian labeled "Obama of the Maas", on this unimportant issue. It tells us a lot of how the ruling parties are dealing with Geert Wilders.