Julian Assange

sábado, 29 de janeiro de 2011


Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05THEHAGUE2585 2005-09-23 13:01 2011-01-17 00:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy The Hague
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 002585 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/22/2015 
     B. THE HAGUE 2565 
     C. THE HAGU...

41221,9/23/2005 13:37,05THEHAGUE2585,"Embassy The
36|05THEHAGUE2565,"This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text
of the original cable is not available.
","C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 002585
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/22/2015
Classified By: Charge D'Affaires Chat Blakeman;
reasons 1.4 (b,d)

1. (C) Your trip to the Netherlands comes at a time when
Prime Minister Jean-Pieter Balkenende's coalition government
faces the lowest poll figures in Dutch history. Much of the
public and parliamentary criticism focuses on the
government's ambitious economic reform programs, but Dutch
military deployments overseas (including in ISAF III and
NTM-I) and the government's commitment to the Joint Strike
Fighter program are also controversial. The national budget
released on September 20 provides moderately increased funds
for the Defense Ministry, reversing a decade-long decline.
Under Defense Minister Henk Kamp, the Dutch MOD has recently
reorganized to streamline decision-making and to increase the
deployability of Dutch forces. Your Defense and Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MFA) interlocutors are likely to seek your
views on proposals for NATO transformation. Should your
schedule allow a visit to the HMS Van Amstel, you will want
to thank Defense Minister Kamp and the frigate's crew for
their hard work and timely assistance in support of Hurricane
Katrina relief efforts.

Unpopular Balkenende Government
2. (C) The Balkenende government has fallen on tough times.
A September 16 poll indicated that if national elections were
held today, Balkenende's coalition would poll only 23.9
percent, down from 28.6 percent in 2003. At the same time,
the popularity of the opposition party Labor (PvdA) is
increasing, drawing 31.2 percent of today's voters (up from
27.3 percent in 2003). With the national elections scheduled
for May 2007, many assume a new government will come to power
headed by a more Euro-centric Labor party. Labor was highly
critical of Dutch participation in Iraq, and has raised
difficult questions in parliament regarding the deployment of
special forces in support of the Afghan elections. They are
generally supportive of Dutch participation in ISAF. Labor
also actively opposed the Dutch government's involvement in
developing the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), although it does
not necessarily oppose the purchase of the finished aircraft.
Balkenende's government has pinned its hopes on turning
around the struggling Dutch economy through an ambitious --
and controversial -- economic reform program, but many
observers consider this a long shot. All parties are now
gearing up for municipal elections scheduled for March 2006,
which are widely viewed as a preview of the 2007 national

2006 Defense Budget Plans
3. (C) The Ministry of Defense came out fairly strong in the
September 20 presentation of the 2006 defense budget plans.
Since 1994, the MOD has given up approximately 1.2 billion
Euros in cuts. This year's budget sees a slight raise from
2005 (7.67 to 7.78 billion Euros) and includes funds to
procure new equipment. This follows a massive ministry
reorganization involving service command consolidation and
staff cuts (ref A). During a September 20 press conference,
Defense Minister Kamp emphasized the need to continue to
adapt to a changing security situation or risk becoming
vulnerable. MOD State Secretary Cees van der Knaap announced
plans to buy two C-130s (54 million Euros) and five new
Chinook helicopters adapted for special forces missions from
the USG. The Dutch also intend to develop their armed forces
into a ""full-fledged national security organization,""
including making 3,000 troops permanently available for civil
authorities in response to crisis situations. The MOD also
will develop counter-terrorism plans to protect airspace and

4. (C) As reported ref B, the Dutch government is expected to
make a positive decision by the end of October to deploy
1,000 - 1,2000 troops to Uruzghan province in Afghanistan in
support of ISAF Stage III. MOD contacts hope parliamentary
approval of the decision will follow shortly thereafter.
Prior fulfillment of certain ""pre-conditions"" will help
convince parliament, especially given concerns recently
raised by the Labor Party. Such pre-conditions include
securing U.S. intelligence and logistics support,
establishing a PRT partnership with Australia, and
cost-sharing to renovate Kandahar airport. The Dutch have
suggested that a pitch by the USG might help convince
Australia to team with the Netherlands in Uruzghan, and may
raise this and possible U.S. intelligence and logistics
support to the Dutch PRT during your meetings.

NATO Transformation
5. (C) As reported ref C, Defense Minister Kamp took
seriously NATO SYG de Hoop Scheffer's request to think
outside the box on NATO transformation issues. During the
recent informal NATO defense ministerial in Berlin, Kamp
presented an 11-point paper that emphasized an expanded role
for the NATO Response Force (NRF), a greater NATO role in
maritime security, a major policy change in favor of European
missile defense, and increased NATO coordination with the EU,
UN, and the African Union. Foreign Minister Bot has
expressed similar views in recent public speeches on the need
to transform NATO into a more effective political
decision-making entity. Dutch interlocutors have been
generally supportive of Washington's ""two summit"" approach
focusing a first mini-summit in 2006 on transformation and a
second in 2008 on enlargement. The Dutch have gently pushed
for a greater US role in the NRF, and may raise this during
your meetings.

Force Protection for NTM-I
6. (C) As reported reftel ref D, the Dutch are willing to
contribute up to 100 persons to participate in the NATO
Training Mission in Iraq provided other Allies and partners
also are willing to increase their participation. To date,
the Dutch have offered 25 persons for NTM-I; only 15 persons
are currently deployed in Iraq. MFA and MOD contacts have
indicated that the possibility of Dutch contributions to
force protection for NTM-I is a non-starter, especially given
the expected contentious debate in parliament over Dutch
participation in ISAF Stage III.

7. (C) JSF is one of the most important issues we face in the
Netherlands; your Dutch interlocutors may raise it during
your meetings. The Dutch have agreed to contribute $800
million to participate in the system development and
demonstration phase, and now face a decision next year to
purchase the fighter. The current government and the Air
Force wholeheartedly support the purchase, but Labor is
dragging its heels. Questions involving program delays and
the Quadrennial Defense Review have complicated the issue.
The CEO of Lockheed-Martin will visit the Netherlands the
first week of October, officially ""to strengthen the
trans-Atlantic relationship"" but also to build the case in
favor of the purchase.

HMS Van Amstel
8. (C) The HMS van Amstel is planning to return to the
Netherlands the day of your visit. The Van Amstel has been
at sea for six months on counter-narcotics operations in the
Caribbean, and was on its way back the Netherlands when
Hurricane Katrina struck. The Van Amstel changed course,
heading toward the hurricane-affected area, and was key in
providing timely assistance to the Biloxi area. The Van
Amstel had considerable press coverage here in the
Netherlands; Charge hosted a press conference on Dutch
hurricane assistance in which he described the personnel
aboard the Van Amstel as heroes. Your participation in the
small ceremony greeting the return of the Van Amstel's crew
will go a long way in showing our appreciation to the Dutch
for their hard work and timely assistance. It also presents
an opportunity to meet Defense Minister Kamp.

Other Meetings
9. (U) We also have scheduled meetings with Pieter de Gooijer
(Deputy Director-General for Political Affairs, MFA), and Lo
Casteleijn (Director, General Policy Affairs, MOD). We are
awaiting word from Rob Swartbol's office (Advisor to the
Prime Minister) regarding his availability.

Van Der Knaap Trip to Washington
10. (C) MOD State Secretary Van Der Knaap plans to travel to
Washington next month. Lo Casteleijn has described van der
Knaap as politically savvy, and influential on the JSF
decision. You should ask Casteleijn for his views on how to
engage with Van Der Knaap during his trip to Washington.

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