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Viewing cable 07THEHAGUE497, YOUR VISIT TO THE NETHERLAND...

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07THEHAGUE497 2007-03-20 14:02 2011-01-27 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy The Hague
VZCZCXYZ0011
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTC #0497/01 0791457
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 201457Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8530
INFO RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN PRIORITY 6641
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW PRIORITY 2016
C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 000497 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR A/S FRIED FROM AMBASSADOR ARNALL 
WARSAW/COPENHAGEN PLEASE PASS TO A/S FRIED 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/19/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR KISL NL
SUBJECT: YOUR VISIT TO THE NETHERLAND...



101184

2007-03-20

07THEHAGUE497

Embassy The Hague

CONFIDENTIAL

07THEHAGUE297|07THEHAGUE418

C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 000497 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

FOR A/S FRIED FROM AMBASSADOR ARNALL 
WARSAW/COPENHAGEN PLEASE PASS TO A/S FRIED 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/19/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR KISL NL
SUBJECT: YOUR VISIT TO THE NETHERLANDS 

REF: A. THE HAGUE 418 
B. THE HAGUE 297 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR ROLAND ARNALL, REASONS 1.4(B,D) 

Assistant Secretary Fried: 

1. (SBU) My staff and I are happy to welcome you back to The 
Netherlands March 22-23. You will be the most senior 
Department of State visitor here since the formation of the 
new, center-left coalition government (Balkenende IV). While 
the coalition has survived its first major political test by 
winning a majority in this month's Provincial elections (ref 
a), it is clearly still finding its feet. So far, its agenda 
has been dominated by domestic politics -- including a 
troubling debate on the status of dual nationals -- but the 
new government will shortly have to make tough decisions on 
whether to extend the Dutch deployment in Afghanistan, how to 
move forward on European integration, whether to continue to 
participate in the Joint Strike Fighter program, and other 
critical foreign policy and defense challenges. The next few 
months, therefore, will be crucial in setting the tone of our 
bilateral relationship for the next several years, as well as 
in determining whether this government can find a comfortable 
balance between its transatlantic and European identities. 

2. (C) Your visit provides an excellent opportunity to get 
the relationship off on the right foot, and to help tee up 
the April visits to the U.S. of Foreign Minister Maxime 
Verhagen (CDA) and State Secretary (equivalent to junior 
minister) for Development Bert Koenders (PvdA). As noted 
ref b, FM Verhagen's instincts favor strengthening the 
bilateral relationship, even at the expense of Europe, if 
necessary. He is already facing strong pressure from within 
the coalition -- and even some factions of his own party -- 
to show his independence by pressing the U.S. on issues like 
renditions and Guantanamo, however. Koenders, on the other 
hand, comes to the relationship with a history of challenging 
the former government's pro-American tilt despite his long 
association with NATO (i.e., Koenders was elected chairman of 
the NATO Parliamentary Assembly just prior to joining the 
government) and a reputation for being among the most 
transatlantic members of his Labor Party. Both ministers 
will play key roles in guiding the Cabinet's decision making 
on Afghanistan in coming months -- which is why both of them, 
along with Defense Minister van Middelkoop, are currently 
visiting Uruzgan to review the situation on the ground first 
hand. 

3. (SBU) Unfortunately, Verhagen and Koenders will be tied up 
on Thursday and Friday with formal commemorations of the 
anniversary of the Rome Treaty (presided over by Queen 
Beatrix) and the weekly cabinet meeting with the Prime 
Minister, so it will not be possible to meet with them 
personally on this visit. On Thursday, however, you will be 
able to discuss the agenda for the upcoming visit and other 
substantive issues with Deputy Political Director (and former 
Dutch DCM in Washington) Wim Geerts. Later that evening, you 
will be the guest of honor at a dinner attended by senior MFA 
officials (including Political Director Pieter de Gooijer), 
parliamentarians, and other notables (including former Prime 
Minister Ruud Lubbers and former Foreign Minister Ben Bot.) 
We expect the informal dinner format, in particular, will 
lend itself to a lively debate on the future of 
U.S.-Dutch-European relations with a well-informed, highly 
influential audience of prominent public figures. 

4. (SBU) We are also very pleased that you have agreed to 
address the inaugural event of the Netherlands-Atlantic 
Youth Association on Thursday afternoon at Leiden 
University. This group was founded recently, with Embassy 
encouragement, to introduce the next generation of Dutch 
leaders to the benefits of the transatlantic relationship. 
Your participation in this event will help get this ambitious 
project off to a strong start, while reinforcing this 
mission's efforts to reach out to Dutch youth. We are 
working to ensure that this event receives press coverage, 
and that you will have an opportunity to address the press 
directly on the same themes on the margins of the actual 
event. 

5. (C) Finally, on Friday morning you will have the chance 
to discuss issues of concern to the Dutch Muslim community 
over breakfast, following up on the successful visit last 
week by Nerissa Cook's delegation on Integration and 
Radicalization. During that visit, government officials and 
representatives of the Dutch Muslim community expressed 
concern that USG initiatives to engage European Muslims could 
be perceived as linking the bulk of the European Muslim 
population to violent extremist movements. While recognizing 
the United States' legitimate interest in countering 
extremism and potential terrorist threats, they cautioned 
against appearing to associate the integration of European 
Muslims primarily with efforts to counter radicalization. In 
this context, some cited your recent Washington Times 
interview as evidence that the U.S. sees European Muslims as 
a collective problem rather than as individuals worthy of 
dialogue; your visit will provide the perfect opportunity to 
set the record straight. 

ARNALL