King Khalid of Saudi Arabia arrived in Belgium on Monday (8 May) for a three-day visit.
King Khalid of Saudi Arabia arrived in Belgium on Monday (8 May) for a three-day visit. It was a return of a state visit to Riyadh made two years ago by King Baudouin of the Belgians.
SYNOPSIS: Most of King Khalid's stay in Belgium was spent at the Royal Palace in Brussels. At the airport, the Saudi King was met by Belgium's monarch. King Khalid was accompanied by fur government ministers and an entourage of more than fifty officials. Belgium's King Baudouin wore the uniform of an air force general. In keeping with the traditional welcome for conservative Arab leaders, there were almost no women present at the airport, and Queen Fabiola was diplomatically absent. King Khalid's only planned excursion in Brussels was to the Islamic centre, the most important of the forty mosques in Brussels. For thousand of Moslems who live and work in Belgium, the Islamic centre is a cultural, as well as a religious, focus-point.
A special service was held at the Islamic centre in honour of King Khalid. Apart from state ceremony, defence and trade matters were of primary concern. Arms make up a quarter of Belgium's exports to Saudi Arabia, but there is a major imbalance of trade in the Saudi's favour. Saudi Arabia is Belgium's main source of oil.