Viewing cable 05THEHAGUE789, SCENESETTER FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK'S APRIL
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|05THEHAGUE789||2005-03-24 12:12||2011-01-16 00:12||SECRET||Embassy The Hague|
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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 000789 SIPDIS TO THE DEPUTY SECRETARY FROM AMBASSADOR SOBEL E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/22/2025 TAGS: PREL PGOV NL EUN NATO SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK'S APRIL 1 VISIT TO THE NET... S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 000789 SIPDIS TO THE DEPUTY SECRETARY FROM AMBASSADOR SOBEL E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/22/2025 TAGS: PREL PGOV NL EUN NATO SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK'S APRIL 1 VISIT TO THE NETHERLANDS Classified By: AMBASSADOR CLIFFORD M. SOBEL FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D). Mr. Deputy Secretary: ¶1. (C) My staff and I are eager to welcome you to the Netherlands for your first visit here as Deputy Secretary. Your trip reinforces the message of transatlantic cooperation delivered by the President and Secretary Rice, and will help focus the Dutch, in particular, on taking practical steps on the important issues. Foreign Minister Bot has time and again demonstrated his keen interest in reinvigorating the transatlantic partnership and its institutions, including NATO, to face the challenges of the 21st Century. Your meetings with him and with a select group of senior opinion makers demonstrates the value we place on Dutch leadership in this endeavor. ¶2. (C) During the Dutch presidency of the EU (June-December 2004), Foreign Minister Bot pushed the EU to engage more actively in Iraq, guided the EU to set a date for accession negotiations with Turkey, helped stiffen the EU's spine to face down Russia over Ukraine, and pressed for increased U.S.-European cooperation in the Middle East. On the China Arms Embargo, Bot began the Dutch EU presidency trying to convince us that a lift was inevitable, but ultimately used the authority of the Presidency both to prevent a lift and to ensure that EU committed itself to no quantitative or qualitative increases in arms sales following a lift. Bot, like many Dutchmen, sees no contradiction between being a strong ally of the United States and a good European; the China Arms Embargo experience demonstrates his willingness to buck conventional European wisdom at times to ensure that U.S. interests are understood and taken into account. If anything, his experience during the EU presidency has only strengthened his basic transatlantic orientation, and he continues to look for ways to use his unique experience (which includes a decade as Dutch permrep to the EU) and perspective to build bridges across the Atlantic. This was the main reason for his request to meet with Secretary Rice in Washington prior to the President's European trip. ¶3. (S) The Dutch also deserve credit for promoting U.S.-EU Counter-Terrorism cooperation during their EU presidency and for initiating high-level U.S.-European exchanges of information and intelligence. Recent events in the Netherlands, including the murder of controversial filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a radical Dutch Islamist and subsequent heightening of tensions here, have sensitized the Dutch to the fact that Europe faces a real and present terrorist danger. The recent decision to deploy special forces to Afghanistan in a combat role -- over the objections of the largest opposition party in parliament -- represents a major shift in the way the Dutch think about their military, and demonstrates the government's determination to do its part in the global war on terrorism. ¶4. (S) Naturally, the Dutch and we do not see eye-to-eye on all issues, and you should be prepared for some tough questioning (in the typically Dutch blunt style) on the handling of enemy combatants at Guantanamo in particular at the roundtable. This issue has taken on added importance with the deployment of Dutch special forces to Afghanistan. We have responded quickly to Bot's requests for expert-level consultations -- Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Waxman will be here March 24 to discuss this issue -- but he is under intense pressure from Parliament to demonstrate that Dutch concerns are being taken seriously. I expect he will raise this issue with you, if for no other reason than to be able to tell Parliament honestly that he has done so. ¶5. (C) Bot and the Dutch leadership are still sensitive to criticism that they pulled the Dutch contingent out of Al-Muthanna too early (a judgment we believe Bot personally shares). The reasons for the decision not to extend the Dutch deployment for a third time are complicated and grounded in domestic politics. Bot led the effort within the cabinet to extend the troops, and has taken pains to ensure that government remains committed to the Iraqi effort. Iraq. The Dutch were among the first to offer trainers to the NATO training mission and have let it be known that they can do more -- possibly even including additional future deployments -- provided other allies also step up to the plate. In your discussion with Bot, you may want to probe further to see how far the Dutch are prepared to go at this time and in the future, and to discuss what more the Dutch can do to leverage additional commitments from other European partners. ¶6. (C) Finally, as an astute observer and participant in inter-European decision making, Bot can be relied on to provide an honest assessment on the current state of play within the EU on the China Arms Embargo, where the Dutch will be happy to join, but not lead, a stalling campaign. Bot departs April 4 on a trip to Asia that will include stops in Japan and China, so it will also be useful to arm him with our latest arguments against a lift. Bot can also provide useful insights into EU thinking on Turkey, where Bot, as a former Dutch Ambassador to Ankara, has a proprietary interest in getting both sides successfully to October 3, and the Balkans, where the Dutch remain among the most stalwart supporters of the ICTY and holding regional governments (including Croatia's) to account. SOBEL