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Viewing cable 05THEHAGUE406, YOUR MEETING WITH DUTCH FOREIGN MINISTER BOT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05THEHAGUE406 2005-02-11 11:11 2011-01-22 21:09 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 03 THE HAGUE 000406 

SIPDIS 

TO THE SECRETARY FROM AMBASSADOR SOBEL 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/10/2025 
TAGS: PREL NL EUN NATO
SUBJECT: YOUR MEETING WITH DUTCH FOREIGN MINISTER BOT 

REF: THE HAGUE 3350 (2004) 

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

Madame Secretary: 

1. (C) Foreign Minister Bot requested this meeting to discuss 
a wide range of U.S.-EU issues prior to the President's visit 
to Europe. A former Dutch permrep to the EU with a 
pro-European reputation, Bot's appreciation of the 
transatlantic relationship appears to have deepened and 
strengthened during the six months of the Dutch EU 
presidency. On several key issues -- e.g. Iraq, Ukraine, 
China, Turkey -- Bot leveraged his understanding of European 
politics and institutions to advance a solidly transatlantic 
agenda. His candid assessments of internal European 
decision-making at critical moments also proved invaluable. 
Bot very much wants to remain a player, and is seeking to 
stake out a clear role for the Dutch (and for himself) in the 
post-Presidency environment. Although we have had our recent 
-- over the Dutch withdrawal from al-Muthanna, for example 
-- this meeting provides an excellent opportunity to take 
advantage of Bot's credibility and experience to refine our 
message to Europe, while encouraging Bot to assume a more 
active leadership role in key areas. 

IRAQ: 
---- 

2. (C) Bot personally made Iraq a high priority during the 
Dutch EU Presidency. He should continue to press the EU from 
within to assume greater responsibilities in Iraq, and to 
move quickly to establish a physical presence on the ground 
in particular. The decision -- which Bot fought in cabinet 
-- to withdraw the Dutch bilateral military presence from 
al-Muthanna next month is unfortunately irreversible. The 
Dutch were among the first, however, to commit personnel to 
the first phase of the NATO training mission and have 
indicated a willingness to provide up to 100 in later phases 
-- with the caveat that they expect other partners to provide 
similar numbers. It would be useful to remind Bot that while 
we appreciate Dutch efforts to press allies to be more 
forthcoming, basing Dutch contributions on strict definitions 
of proportionality would be counterproductive. 

3. (C) The Dutch have never ruled out additional missions in 
Iraq, and Bot in particular may be receptive to ideas for how 
the Dutch could fill important niches For example, The 
Dutch could be asked to consider expanding bilateral support 
to Iraqi institutions such as the Ministries of Foreign 
Affairs (the Dutch are currently training one class of junior 
Iraqi diplomats in the Hague) and Justice (the Dutch last 
year hosted a successful conference of Iraqi jurists in The 
Hague) or to sponsor specific reconstruction and development 
projects in the al-Muthanna area to take advantage of 
existing links to the local community. 

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

4. (C) Bot started the Dutch presidency resigned to lifting 
the China Arms Embargo, but ended it determined to prevent a 
lift on his watch. He can continue to provide useful 
insights into how the issue is being handled within EU 
circles, and should be pushed to keep the EU focused on its 
commitment -- which the Dutch insisted on inserting into the 
December 17 Council declaration -- not to increase sales to 
China in quantity or quality. The Dutch have made clear 
that they will take their lead on this issue from the 
British, and that they will not stand alone to prevent a 
lift, but they may be able to help us find and exploit 
potential cracks in the EU's consensus. Bot should also be 
left with no illusions about the likely consequences of a 
lift, including potential complications in U.S.-European 
defense trade. 

CUBA: 
---- 

5. (C) The Dutch continue to represent the EU Presidency in 
Havana (since Luxembourg has no mission there) and have deep 
concerns about the human rights situation there. The Dutch 
have so far not been as active as the Czechs or Poles in 
pressing the EU to maintain contacts with dissidents as it 
improves relations with Havana; Bot could and should do more 
in this area. For example, he could instruct the Dutch 
Embassy in Havana to respond positively to our request that 
US representatives be invited to the monthly coordination 
meetings on human rights held by EU missions in Havana. 

TURKEY/CYPRUS: 
------------- 

6. (C) As a former Ambassador to Turkey, and the man under 
whose watch the Turks finally got a date to begin accession 
talks, Bot has a personal interest in facilitating Turkey's 
bid to accede to the EU. The Dutch MFA plans to establish a 
regular bilateral forum for discussing EU accession issues 
with Turkey along the lines of their previous successful 
relationship with Poland; this relationship may prove useful 
in identifying and resolving problems ad October 3 
approaches. The Dutch can also provide useful insights into 
EU thinking regarding Cyprus, and are keenly aware that a 
failure to resolve the current impasse over Berlin-plus has 
serious implications for NATO. 

ICC/SUDAN: 
--------- 

7. (C) We will have little success convincing Bot to break 
from EU consensus to support an AU/UN tribunal on Darfur as 
long as the ICC remains an option in European eyes; as the 
host of the ICC, the Dutch are uniquely committed to seeing 
it succeed. We can, however, ask Bot to tone down the 
rhetoric and activities of Dutch representatives in New York, 
Brussels, and elsewhere opposing alternatives to the ICC. As 
a pragmatist, Bot should understand that a public spat over 
this issue does nothing either to promote the transatlantic 
agenda or to bring the perpetrators to justice. The Dutch, 
and Bot personally, have been heavily involved in Darfur (the 
Dutch, for example, paid over half of the EU's contribution 
to the AU mission) and do not want to jeopardize a potential 
resolution over technicalities. 

AFGHANISTAN: 
----------- 

8. (S) In the debate over the al-Muthanna withdrawal, the 
Dutch government cited commitments in Afghanistan -- 
including a possible deployment of special forces to OEF and 
heading up a new PRT in phase III -- as one reason for 
leaving Iraq. These commitments are substantial, useful, and 
appropriate, but you may want to set down a marker that they 
should not be used to justify seen as substitutes for 
contributions in Iraq -- both are high priorities. The Dutch 
have also recently expressed public interest in deploying the 
Dutch battalion of the SRF to Afghanistan to support upcoming 
elections, but have balked at deploying the more substantial 
Dutch NRF forces (approximately 4,000 troops.) NATO has not 
yet determined which force, if either, should be deployed for 
this mission, but Dutch efforts to predetermine the outcome 
are not helpful. 

MIDDLE EAST: 
----------- 

9. (C) Last November, Bot was eager to transform his 
successful hosting of the EUROMED conference in the Hague 
into a a prominent role in the Middle East Peace Process. So 
far, however, he has been unable to carve out an appropriate 
role for himself or the Netherlands either within the EU or 
bilaterally. Bot correctly judges that there is broad public 
support (including from the main opposition parties in 
parliament) for increased engagement in the Middle East, but 
he will not insert himself into the process without being 
asked. 

AFRICA: 
------ 

10. (C) Already heavily involved in Africa -- the Dutch are 
the fourth largest donor of aid to the continent -- Bot is 
under constant pressure from the Dutch parliament (and Dutch 
development minister Agnes van Ardenne) to do more. The 
Dutch uniquely include a major focus on peace and security in 
their African development policy, and have expressed interest 
in greater coordination with the U.S., especially in the Horn 
and Great Lakes Regions. In fleshing out possible areas of 
increased cooperation in Africa, we should remain cognizant 
of the fact that African initiatives have sometimes been 
portrayed as alternatives to missions in Iraq or Afghanistan; 
we will need to make clear in any discussion where our top 
priorities lie. 

BOTTOM LINE: 
----------- 

11. (C) Bot's experience and credibility make him a useful 
European interlocutor and an effective advocate for the 
transatlantic agenda. During the Dutch presidency, he 
repeatedly demonstrated a talent for translating 
transatlantic objectives into the language of Europeanism, 
and for discreetly managing difficult issues (such as Turkey 
or China) to successful conclusions. It would be in our 
interest to find creative ways to harness his skills as a 
coalition builder and his newly-deepened transatlantic 
orientation in the post-presidency environment as well. 

12. (C) One final point you may want to stress in your 
discussion is that the concept of proportionality creeping 
into many Dutch debates (on Iraq and Afghanistan, for 
example) is misguided. The value we place on our partnership 
is not based on whether or not the Dutch contribute their 
fair share to any given operation, but rather reflects the 
trust developed over a long history in which each side 
demonstrated its willingness to do whatever was needed to 
achieve shared objectives. 

SOBEL