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Francken goes into a spin. His departure from the government posed

Theo Francken and the ambassador of Sudan (source: Facebook Theo Francken)

(B2) The Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Immigration, Theo Francken, member of the Flemish nationalist party, N-VA, seems to have gone off the rails.

An authoritarian regime to the rescue of a democracy

The minister not only asked the Sudanese authorities - through the Sudanese ambassador in Brussels, Motrif Siddiq - to help the Belgian authorities identify the Sudanese nationals who were stranded in the Maximilien Park in the Belgian capital . But he persists in this choice, considering it perfectly justified, as he explains on his Facebook account. “He considers that the arrival of the Sudanese delegation […] is a breakthrough. » “It's not clear what nationality they have, that's what this mission is for. […] The objective is to make 80 identifications. This is the biggest [exercise] ever known in Belgium and the first from Sudan,” he boasts.

Sudanese foreign intelligence at work

To remember who Motrif Siddiq is, we must remember that he is close to Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president (still wanted by the International Criminal Court), and that he was the deputy director of foreign intelligence services until 1995 (1), when he left the service to join Sudanese diplomacy (2).

A way to identify opponents

On VRT and in the Flemish daily From Morgan, Koert Debeuf, specialist in the Middle East, the famous Sudanese delegation would not be made up of gentle peaceful agents but made up of “secret agents”. He says he is 99% certain that the Sudanese delegation is made up of members of that country's secret police. In this way, the regime would seek to identify political opponents and could torture them once returned to Sudan. “ In this country, everything is controlled by services which are known throughout the world to practice torture. The number of independent civil servants in Sudan is nil »

Comment: difficult to understand

The attitude of the Secretary of State appears difficult to understand. We can justify everything. But there are limits that must not be crossed. It is one thing to have contact with every country in the world. This is the role of diplomacy. It is one thing to provide humanitarian aid to Sudan and to maintain contacts in order to take the country on another path, even if it means giving it a financial incentive. It is another to resort to authoritarian, dictatorial regimes, whose leader is wanted by the International Criminal Court and several of its officials blacklisted by the UN and the European Union for murder and mass assassinations, to help and advise a democratic government to manage its asylum policy. It's almost like asking the Syrians or the Russians to come and help identify asylum seekers. We are cleaner from complicity than from behavior. It therefore seems difficult for a minister of this caliber to remain a member of a democratic government in the heart of Europe. At a time when Belgium is finalizing, in New York, its campaign to obtain a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, it is, to say the least… unfortunate.


(1) A date which coincides with the attempted attack against Mubarak at the OAU summit in Addis Ababa and the accusation made by Cairo of the involvement of the Sudanese services in this murder.

(2) He was notably Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs and Humanitarian Affairs and the first Sudanese ambassador to South Sudan, in 2011, the secessionist province. He was appointed in 2016 in Brussels to the post of ambassador to Belgium… and the European Union.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).