September 21 marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. Belgium is a founding member of the UN and the very first President of the General Assembly was Belgian Foreign Minister Paul-Henri Spaak. Faced with the challenges of our time, Belgium remains more than ever convinced of the importance of the role of the UN and multilateralism in the search for effective and harmonious solutions fostering peace and sustainable development. This commitment is also demonstrated by its mandate in the Security Council, where Belgium was elected for the 6th time.
Belgium is following the situation in Belarus closely and with growing concern. In recent weeks, credible reports of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country have continued to multiply. Therefore, on 17 September 2020, Belgium decided to invoke, together with 16 other participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a mechanism to mandate an expert mission to examine these concerns, to provide recommendations and to advice on possible solutions.
Following the fire that broke out at the reception center for asylum seekers in Moria on the island of Lesbos in Greece, Belgium has decided to send a 13-person emergency medical team under the B-FAST mechanism, which involves Defence, Interior, Public Health, Bosa, Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation.
Since this year, September 9 has been declared by the United Nations as 'International Day for the Protection of Education against Attacks'. In 2019, the UN registered nearly 500 attacks against schools in various conflict zones.
Foreign Minister Philippe Goffin expresses his deep concern about the sanctions announced by the U.S. authorities against staff members of the International Criminal Court (ICC), including the Prosecutor. Belgium condemns these unacceptable and unprecedented measures, which hinder the work and the proper functioning of the Court. It calls on the United States to reconsider these measures.
Marie Cherchari is the new Deputy Spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. She succeeds Arnaud Gaspart who took up his new role at the Belgian embassy in Canada this summer.
On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense Philippe Goffin express their great appreciation for the important work of the humanitarian heroes on the ground. In total, Belgium is releasing 197 million euros in humanitarian funds this year, a historically high amount. This makes our country a particularly loyal and important humanitarian donor.
In cooperation with the UN, French President Macron is organizing a donor conference for Lebanon this afternoon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense, Philippe Goffin, will represent our country. President Trump and King Abdullah II have already confirmed their participation. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo, has already released 5 million additional humanitarian aid.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence, Philippe Goffin, just announced that a C130 military transport aircraft will leave from Melsbroek to Beirut tonight at 8pm with urgent medical and humanitarian equipment for the victims of the huge explosion. Besides the victims and wounded, the enormous devastation has also left many people homeless. To help them, material for temporary shelter will also be sent along.