Cablegate: Dutch Parliament Concurs with Sfir Extension

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) On December 11, the Dutch parliament concurred with
the November 28 decision by the Cabinet to extend Dutch
participation in the Stabilization Force in Iraq for six
months. The Dutch presently have approximately 1100
military personnel (mostly Dutch Royal Marines) serving as
part of the UK's Multi-National Division South-East in
AlMuthanna Province. Only the far-left opposition Green
Left (GL) and Socialist (SP) Parties opposed the extension,
as they are against Dutch involvement in Iraq altogether.
While supporting the extension, the governing Christian
Democrats (CDA), Liberals (VVD) and Liberal Democrats (D66)
as well as the main opposition Labor Party (PvdA) all
expressed concern about threats to Dutch troops' safety but
accepted Defense Minister Kamp's assurances that measures
had been taken to address them. (Kamp recently dispatched
70 Dutch Special Forces commandoes to perform reconnaissance
missions in the Dutch sector.) Members also accepted Kamp's
assurances that the Dutch were receiving adequate
information from the UK about possible threats (this had
previously been a subject of parliamentary concern).

2. (U) Kamp readily admitted that the security situation had
become more difficult. He said that measures had been taken
to prevent terrorist attacks on Dutch forces but "we cannot
reassure the Chamber as we are not reassured ourselves." In
concurring with the extension, Parliament expressed strong
support for the Dutch troops' role in enhancing security by
training Iraqi police and other security forces and thus
facilitating the transfer of power to the Iraqi people.

3. (SBU) Comment: Support for the Cabinet's November 28
decision was largely a foregone conclusion (a formal vote of
approval is in fact not necessary in the Dutch system;
however the Chamber always debates potentially controversial
decisions). Nevertheless both Kamp and parties on the
center-right and center-left used yesterday's debate to make
plain their concerns about the risk to Dutch forces should
there be eventual Dutch casualties in Iraq. End comment.


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