Belgian Vice-PM Wilmes resigns to take care of ill husband

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Belgian Foreign Minister and deputy premier Sophie Wilmes has resigned, the cabinet announced on Thursday, to take care of her husband, former Australian footballer Chris Stone, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Wilmes, who was Belgium's prime minister in 2019-20 and the first woman in that role, had already temporarily stepped down in April for the same reason, stating then that the situation would be re-evaluated during the summer.

“My husband's illness will be a difficult battle that I want to fight alongside him and alongside our children," Wilmes said in the statement. "My current duties in government would not allow me to do so."

In April, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo took over Wilmes' foreign affairs duties temporarily.

"Thank you for your dedication and commitment over the years. This isn't goodbye, till we meet again," De Croo told Wilmes in a Twitter post.

(Reporting by Charlotte Van CampenhoutEditing by Mark Heinrich, Kirsten Donovan)

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