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Viewing cable 05THEHAGUE1876, NETHERLANDS: TOUR D'HORIZON WITH FOREIGN MINISTER

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05THEHAGUE1876 2005-07-01 12:12 2011-01-27 00:12 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 001876 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2015 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS IZ IR AF NL EUN
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS:  TOUR D'HORIZON WITH FOREIGN MINISTER 
BOT 
 
REF: A. THE HAGUE 1853 
     B. THE HAGUE 1852 ...

35731

2005-07-01

05THEHAGUE1876

Embassy The Hague

SECRET

05CARACAS1865|05THEHAGUE1852|05THEHAGUE1853

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 THE HAGUE 001876 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2015 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS IZ IR AF NL EUN
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS: TOUR D'HORIZON WITH FOREIGN MINISTER 
BOT 

REF: A. THE HAGUE 1853 
B. THE HAGUE 1852 
C. CARACAS 1865 

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

1. (S) SUMMARY: Ambassador Sobel, DCM, and POLCOUNS met 
with Dutch FM Bot on June 30 for a tour d'horizon discussion 
of outstanding issues. Bot praised the excellent (and 
improving) state of U.S.-Dutch relations, but identified four 
irritants to be addressed through ongoing consultations: 
Dutch dissatisfaction with the U.S. handling of the 
Trafficking in Persons issue; the lack of opportunities for 
Dutch businesses in Iraq; perceived U.S. indifference to 
Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations; and the treatment of 
detainees at Guantanamo and other U.S. facilities. Bot 
confirmed that the Dutch are moving forward with plans to 
send 1,000 to 1.2000 troops to Southern Afghanistan in 
conjunction with British and Canadian forces under ISAF 
auspices. With regard to Venezuela, Bot confirmed that the 
Dutch have invited Chavez to the Hague (no date set) but 
intends to deliver a tough message to discourage Venezuelan 
meddling in the Antilles. Bot also indicated a willingness 
to push for a tougher line on Venezuela within the EU. The 
Dutch have formally renewed their commitment to the NATO 
Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I) and can do more provided 
other allies make comparable contributions. Bot would be 
interested in doing more in the Middle East in a national 
capacity, possibly including contributions to the 
Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) if asked and also 
intends to work through the EU to support projects in Gaza. 
The current crisis in the EU will could end the political 
career of Luxembourg PM Juncker, according to Bot. Bot 
expects Solana to remain in place in the hope of one day 
becoming EU Foreign Minister (Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, on the 
other hand, told the Ambassador he thinks Fischer may be a 
stronger candidate for this position.) Bot found his recent 
meetings with FM Lavrov more productive than those held 
during the Dutch EU presidency. On Iran, Bot believes the 
new government will take a harder line domestically while 
trying to maintain good foreign relations; at the same time, 
Bot remains concerned that Dutch parliamentary pressures to 
fund an exile-run satellite TV station would have damaging 
repercussions for Dutch and EU efforts to moderate Iranian 
behaviour. END SUMMARY. 

DUTCH CONCERNS: 
--------------- 

2. (C) Foreign Minister Bot noted that Dutch-U.S. relations 
remained excellent and, if anything, had become stronger over 
the last four years. This relationship had proven its worth 
during the Dutch EU presidency, when both sides had grown 
even closer while pursuing shared objectives. The steady 
stream of high-level U.S. visitors to the Netherlands 
(including President Bush) and vice versa had clearly made a 
positive impact. The Dutch considered themselves valued 
partners of the U.S., and this partnership had produced 
tangible results in many spheres. Bot stressed that he was 
personally committed to ensuring the continuation of a strong 
transatlantic relationship. In this context, the U.S. and 
the Netherlands should work to remove irritations in the 
relationship, including: 

- Trafficking in Persons: The Dutch feel they are 
contributing significantly to the international fight against 
Trafficking in Persons and object to being subjected every 
year to U.S. criticism in this area. Bot said the annual 
fight to remain in Tier One is a source of a lot of 
irritation in the Netherlands. The current U.S. system, he 
continued, appears to punish the Netherlands for being 
transparent and open and does not sufficiently take into 
account Dutch efforts to address transit issues. 

- Iraq Reconstruction: Bot said he is repeatedly asked, 
including in parliament that morning, why Dutch companies 
have not received more contracts in Iraq. There is a 
perception that countries like France and Germany are 
receiving more contracts than the Netherlands, even though 
the Dutch have made significantly greater contributions to 
Iraqi stability and reconstruction. This is a sore point in 
the Dutch business community, as major companies (such as 
Phillips) feel that they are not receiving a fair share of 
opportunities in Iraq. 

- Non-Proliferation: The failure of the NPT Review 
Conference, Bot said, was viewed by many as a sign that the 
U.S. is not serious about multilateral non-proliferation 
efforts. If the U.S. wants support in combating nuclear 
proliferation, it should also be prepared to assist those 
countries seeking a peaceful nuclear power capacity as 
provided for in the treaty. 

- Guantanamo: Bot recalled that at the UNHRC meeting in 
Geneva, the Dutch voted in favor of the U.S.-supported Cuba 
resolution and the U.S. promised to consider allowing UN 
Human Rights Rapporteurs to visit Guantanamo. The fact that 
no such visits have occurred is a source of embarrassment to 
the Dutch government. The Dutch parliament is also pressing 
the government hard to explain its arrangements for handling 
prisoners taken by Dutch forces in Afghanistan to ensure they 
covered by the Geneva protocols -- i.e., that they are not 
turned over to American forces. These charges are becoming 
increasingly difficult to counter, he said. Recalling his 
discussion with Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick, Bot 
reiterated that resolving these concerns would make it easier 
for the Netherlands to respond positively to anticipated 
future requests. The Ambassador noted that in responding to 
parliamentary concerns, the Foreign Minister should be aware 
that there had been no referrals to Guantanamo in the past 
year. 


3. (C) Bot reiterated that he was very satisfied with the 
tremendous successes of the Dutch-U.S. relationship over 
the past several years. He felt it was important, however, 
to restate officially Dutch concerns in the above areas. 
In response, Ambassador Sobel seconded Bot's overall positive 
assessment of U.S.-Dutch relations. The key to overcoming 
the various irritations cited by Bot was to continue 
communication and consultations at all levels. Ambassador 
Sobel noted that the TIP, Iraq Reconstruction, and Guantanamo 
issues were already the subject of intense, high-level 
dialogue in the Hague and in Washington, which should 
continue. 

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

4. (S) Picking up on Bot's Guantanamo comments, Ambassador 
Sobel asked Bot whether these concerns would interfere with 
the Dutch government's plans to staff a second Provincial 
Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Afghanistan during phase III. 
Bot said that, on the contrary, the government was moving 
ahead with plans to send 1,000 - 1,200 troops to Southern 
Afghanistan in 2006 for an 18-month deployment in conjunction 
with British and Canadian deployments in the same region. 
Bot said the Dutch contingent would expect to lead the 
overall deployment in the region, which could include other 
forces (from the Baltics, for example) and would staff a 
headquarters for the middle six months of the deployment. In 
response to a question from POLCOUNS, Bot confirmed that 
these plans had been briefed to key parliamentary leaders 
(including the opposition PvdA) who concurred with the 
government's plans, with two conditions: 1) the troops 
should be deployed in an ISAF, vice OEF, capacity; and 2) 
Dutch Special Forces should be withdrawn from the region 
prior to the PRT's deployment for purposes of deconfliction. 
(Note: The current Dutch SOF deployment to OEF was already 
expected to conclude in April 2006.) 

VENEZUELA: 
--------- 

5. (S) Bot confirmed (ref b) that he planned to visit Caracas 
in the Fall, and that Chavez had been invited to visit The 
Hague this summer if he is in Europe. He stressed, 
however, that he intended to use these opportunities to 
deliver a strong message to Chavez that Venezuelan meddling 
in the Antilles would not be tolerated. Although he had not 
yet seen the specific recommendations sent back by the Dutch 
Ambassador to Caracas (ref c), Bot said that he would support 
steps -- including U.S. Military Ship visits and high-level 
U.S.- Antillean exchanges -- intended to send a clear signal 
to Chavez. With regard to the internal EU debate on 
Venezuela, Bot made clear that he did not accept that Spain 
would have the natural lead on the issue as the Dutch, as a 
Caribbean power, have national interests at stake. (Later, 
in a private one-on-one with Ambassador Sobel, Bot indicated 
that he was not averse to playing a leading role within the 
EU on this issue, and that would be interested in discussing 
Venezuela issues with senior U.S. officials to coordinate our 
approaches.) 

IRAQ: 
---- 

6. (C) Noting that the Dutch parliament had just supported 
extending the Dutch contribution to the NATO Training Mission 
in Iraq (NTM-I), Ambassador Sobel asked whether the Dutch 
were still considering expanding their contribution to 100 or 
more. Bot responded that the Dutch offer to do more remained 
on the table, but only if other allies made comparable 
contributions; so far, he said, most had not done a damn 
thing. The Dutch were training in Iraq while others, like 
France and Germany, still only made limited contributions 
outside Iraq. This continues to be a source of frustration, 
he said, despite Dutch efforts to shame other countries to do 
more.. 

GAZA: 
---- 

7. (C) Recalling the recent visit of MFO Chief Larocco to the 
Netherlands (ref a), Ambassador Sobel probed Bot on possible 
Dutch contributions following an Israeli withdrawal from 
Gaza. Bot made clear that the Dutch would consider a 
national contribution to the MFO if asked, but in the 
meantime would continue to work through the EU on development 
and reconstruction projects (he noted the Gaza port project 
as one possible example.) Bot added that he, personally, 
would like to be more involved in the Middle East but could 
not do so without an invitation and specific role. Bot said 
he had raised this more than once with Solana. 

EU POLITICS: 
----------- 

8. (C) Turning to internal EU dynamics, Bot said that Solana 
still wants to be EU Foreign Minister, even if this meant 
waiting for a long time to come. Bot had harsh words for 
Luxembourg PM Juncker, who, he said, had hoped to be 
President of the EU but now stood to lose everything on 
July 10 if the referendum in Luxembourg goes against the 
constitutional treaty. Bot suggested that recent polls 
showing a growing majority voting against the treaty in 
Luxembourg were swelled by those who just want to see if 
Juncker will keep his word and resign -- it's like a 
cockfight, Asked whether Bot thought German Foreign 
Minister Fischer might be a good candidate to replace Solana 
(as had been suggested to the Ambassador by NATO SYG Jaap de 
Hoop Scheffer), Bot said he understood Schroeder intended to 
leave his current job following the upcoming German 
elections, regardless of the outcome. 

RUSSIA: 
------ 

9. (C) Asked about the June 28 visit to the Netherlands of 
Russian FM Lavrov, Bot said that his encounters with Lavrov 
had been much more productive and pleasant than their 
meetings during the Dutch EU presidency. Lavrov was less 
confrontational than in the past regarding Moldova and other 
areas of concern, but warned the Dutch that the Ukrainians 
were still a problem with regard to Transnistria despite 
the change of regime in Kiev. Bot added that the main point 
of the meeting was to lay the groundwork for a Putin visit 
next November. 

IRAN: 
---- 

10. (C) Based on a meeting with visiting Iranian 
parliamentarians the previous week, Bot said he believed the 
new Iranian government would concentrate first on imposing a 
harder line domestically while trying to maintain a more 
reasonable approach in foreign policy. Bot noted that the 
Dutch parliament's insistence (reconfirmed on June 30) on 
having the government fund an exile-supported satellite TV 
station to broadcast independent media into Iran put him in 
an awkward position, as he did not wish to undermine EU 
policy regarding Iran or put Dutch business interests there 
in jeopardy. That said, he confirmed that the government had 
no choice but to find a way to implement the binding 
parliamentary amendment while doing as little damage as 
possible to EU-Iranian relations. 
SOBEL