A Belgian arms company is currently negotiating a contract to supply firearms to the Libyan government, reveals Le Soir in an in-depth exposé. Supplier: Herstal – and its sole shareholder is the Walloon Region (one of the three administrative regions in Belgium). Estimated contract value: €111 million. Duration of contract: Five years. Charges: “Suspicion of partiality on the part of the Walloon administration, political lobbying (…), violation of the European Code of Conduct (on Defence Procurement) towards a state with such a deplorable human rights record,” enumerates the Brussels-based daily, which believes the case will “prove a real ordeal” for Rudy Demotte’s Walloon government. It was in fact the Socialist regional minister-president who issued Herstal the export licence last 8 June. “Was that licence granted in due form?” wonders Le Soir. “Was there any political pressure in the runup to the elections?” Regional elections were held in June 2009 – and Demotte’s Socialist Party won Wallonia.
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