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Viewing cable 04THEHAGUE1717, DUTCH/EU: FM BOT ON IRAQ, CHINA, ASEM, SUDAN, AND

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
04THEHAGUE1717 2004-07-09 12:12 2011-01-25 19:07 SECRET Embassy The Hague
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001717 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/08/2024 
TAGS: PREL PARM EAID NL IZ CH SU EUN
SUBJECT: DUTCH/EU:  FM BOT ON IRAQ, CHINA, ASEM, SUDAN, AND 
CANADA 
 
REF: A. THE HAGUE 1701 
 
     B. SECSTATE 1...

18563

2004-07-09

04THEHAGUE1717

Embassy The Hague

SECRET

04THEHAGUE1701

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001717 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/08/2024 
TAGS: PREL PARM EAID NL IZ CH SU EUN
SUBJECT: DUTCH/EU: FM BOT ON IRAQ, CHINA, ASEM, SUDAN, AND 
CANADA 

REF: A. THE HAGUE 1701 

B. SECSTATE 147536 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR CLIFFORD SOBEL. REASONS: 1.4(B) AND (D). 

1. (S) SUMMARY: Ambassador Sobel met with Dutch Foreign 
Minister Ben Bot on July 7 to preview the agenda for the July 
12-13 General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) 
in Brussels. Bot anticipated that the GAERC would agree to 
take positive steps with regard to Iraq and Sudan, although 
he expressed concern that the EU was not receiving full 
credit for ongoing activities in Sudan. In separate meetings 
with Finance Minister Zalm and at the MFA, EB A/S Wayne 
pressed for greater EU engagement on Iraq debt reduction and 
assistance. Bot said the China Arms Embargo probably would 
be discussed at the September Gymnich, but made clear that 
holding a successful Chinese summit is a top priority for the 
Dutch Presidency. Burma remains a ticklish issue for the EU 
which puts the ASEM summit at risk; for other reasons, the 
EU-Canada summit probably will not take place either. END 
SUMMARY. 

IRAQ 
---- 

2. (S) According to Bot, agreeing on a plan for EU support 
for Iraq would be high on the GAERC's agenda. Iraqi 
President Allawi, he said, had confirmed his intention to 
attend the session and would join the ministers for lunch. 
For security reasons, however, this information was not being 
circulated widely. (Note: We were subsequently told by a 
Dutch MFA contact that Allawi later decided not to attend the 
session. End Note). Bot stressed that the EU sincerely 
wanted to be helpful to the new Iraqi government and would 
look to Allawi for input in identifying critical needs. The 
Solana-Patten letter of June 9, 2004, he added laid out 
general areas in which the EU felt comfortable making 
contributions, i.e. supporting the political process 
(including elections), promoting security and stability in 
Iraq and the region, and engaging with Iraq to lay the 
foundations for longer-term relations. 

3. (C) Bot noted that he had recently had dinner with NATO 
SYG Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and supported his efforts to 
involve NATO in training and other activities inside Iraq. 
It will be important, he noted, to ensure that NATO and EU 
efforts do not interfere with one another. 

4. (C) In separate meetings July 7 with Finance Minister 
Gerrit Zalm and MFA Director General for Political Affairs 
Hugo Siblesz, visiting EB A/S Tony Wayne pressed for greater 
Dutch and EU engagement on Iraq debt reduction and 
assistance. A/S Wayne explained that the USG planned to work 
through the Core Group, which includes the EU, to coordinate 
closely with the UN on supporting political transition and 
economic reconstruction in Iraq. The USG hoped for concrete 
actions by the year's end. Additional USG commitments would 
be based on IMF sustainability analysis. A/S Wayne urged the 
Dutch to use their role as EU President to support EU 
adoption of a similar pragmatic approach. While agreeing 
that such a non-political approach was best, Zalm said that 
additional bilateral Dutch pledges, including debt reduction, 
would need to be drawn from the country's development 
assistance funds, currently capped at 0.8 percent of GDP. 
Any additional funds directed toward Iraq would mean a cut in 
assistance to currently funded programs in other countries 
with possibly greater needs. Siblesz said the EU was clearly 
interested in hearing directly from Allawi; his input on the 
situation on the ground in Iraq could help to engage the EU 
and reluctant Members States (i.e., France). Siblesz added 
that there would be a meeting this week of Member States with 
assistance programs in Iraq to examine how such programs 
could be expanded on an EU-basis in such areas as police 
training, rule of law, and electoral support. 

CHINA ARMS EMBARGO 
------------------ 

5. (S) Ambassador Sobel reiterated to Bot the strong U.S. 
interest in avoiding a decision to lift the China Arms 
Embargo. Noting that the issue was not on the agenda for the 
upcoming GAERC, Bot said that it probably would be discussed 
at the September 13-14 Gymnich instead. As EU president, the 
Dutch were working to strengthen the code of conduct while 
encouraging China to make progress on human rights. 
Personally, Bot said, he wished that the Dutch had not 
inherited this difficult and emotional issue from the Irish 
presidency, but they would have to deal with it one way or 
another. Lots of EU member states, he added, were pushing to 
abolish the embargo, and as president the Dutch had to remain 
objective. Bot made clear that his top priority was to 
ensure that a successful China-EU summit occurred during the 
Dutch presidency; he was explicitly less concerned with what 
steps would be necessary to make this happen. Bot indicated 
that France and China were suggesting that the summit might 
be canceled unless action was taken on the embargo. 
Ambassador Sobel stressed that we did not want to be 
surprised in this area. 

ASEM SUMMIT AND BURMA 
--------------------- 

6. (S) Noting that Burma was another ticklish issue for the 
EU, Bot said that he hoped for a compromise that would allow 
the EU-ASEM summit to go forward as planned. The Burmese, he 
said, needed to make some sort of credible good-will gesture 
with regard to Aung Sang Suu Kyi to move the process forward. 
The parliament and NGO community in the Netherlands was 
following this issue closely; even though they were not as 
influential as in Britain, he added, the GONL still needed to 
take their concerns seriously. So far, the EU had been 
unable to agree on a compromise solution for the ASEM summit, 
such as agreeing to let Burma participate in a lesser 
capacity. Having the Burmese represented at the ministerial 
level, for example, would still be too high according to 
Bot. Bot said that he had discussed this issue with 
Secretary Powell in Istanbul and had sought his support in 

SIPDIS 
influencing Indonesia and other Asian countries to put 
pressure on Burma to be more accommodating. 

SUDAN 
----- 

7. (C) Turning to Sudan, Bot said that the EU is already 
doing a lot with regard to the Darfur crisis but does not 
get credit for it. Noting that the Dutch have been pushing 
this issue within the EU, Bot said the GAERC would consider 
not only additional steps, but also how to publicize those 
measures the EU is already taking. Bot noted that he had 
discussed this issue briefly with Secretary Powell in 
Istanbul.
 
CANADA 
------ 

8. (C) Bot noted with some exasperation that the EU-Canada 
summit scheduled for the Dutch Presidency probably would be 
postponed. The Canadian Prime Minister, he said, was worried 
about his domestic political situation and had proposed 
impossible dates for the summit. Unless they could come up 
with better dates, Bot said, the summit would not take place. 

COMMENT 
------- 

9. (S) The Dutch presidency has barely started, and already 
faces the possibility of three failed summits: ASEM, Canada, 
and China. Of the three, the Chinese is clearly the most 
important -- and the one by which the Dutch presidency is 
most likely to be judged. Bot's determination to hold a 
EU-China summit at almost any cost, and his insistence that 
the Dutch must remain objective on the Arms Embargo 
question reinforces the message we have heard elsewhere that 
the Dutch will not take a leading or facilitating role in 
delaying a decision on lifting the arms embargo if the 
Chinese (and, Bot suggested, France) make it a precondition 
for a summit. 
SOBEL