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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 THE HAGUE 001049

SIPDIS

FROM AMBASSADOR SOBEL FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE
ALSO FOR P U/S GROSSMAN, G U/S DOBRIANSKY, AND EUR A/S
JONES

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/14
TAGS: PREL KCRM PHUM KWMN NL
SUBJECT: NETHER...


16331

2004-04-26

04THEHAGUE1049

Embassy The Hague

CONFIDENTIAL


C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 001049

SIPDIS

FROM AMBASSADOR SOBEL FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE
ALSO FOR P U/S GROSSMAN, G U/S DOBRIANSKY, AND EUR A/S
JONES

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/14
TAGS: PREL KCRM PHUM KWMN NL
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS AND THE TIP - TIER ONE

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR SOBEL. REASONS: 1.4 (B & D).

1. (C) Mr. Secretary: You will shortly receive for approval
G/TIP's annual trafficking report that drops the
Netherlands from Tier 1 to Tier 2. I understand that while
A/S Beth Jones disagrees with this ranking, she has found
it futile to continue to argue. Before you allow G/TIP's
ranking of the Netherlands to stand, I want to give you my
first hand view of the situation and the consequences.

2. (SBU) Last year over G/TIP's objections, you orrectly
laced the Netherlands in Tier 1. G/TIP and EUR then
developed benchmarks for engaging the Dutch on TIP issues.
So, where are we a year later?

- The TIP situation in the Netherlands has actually
improved in every area specified by law: protection,
prosecution and prevention. (We have provided all the
details to the Department and have shared them with your
staff.)

- The Dutch are committing substantial resources towards
the fight against TIP and the Netherlands is one of the few
countries that has a national rapporteur for trafficking.

- The Dutch championed the fight against TIP during their
OSCE chairmanship and will do so in their upcoming EU
presidency starting July First.

- They have worked cooperatively with us on every
benchmark we have given them over the past year.

3. (C) The real issue seems to be the Dutch approach to
prostitution. We don't like their social policies, but
even G/TIP admits the causal link between legalization of
prostitution and trafficking has not been proven. We have
our view and the Dutch theirs - viewing legalization as an
attempt to gain control of the problems involved with
prostitution and crime, including trafficking in persons in
the sex industry. But this is a different question than
those set out in the law and not a basis for changing their
tier rostitution was just as legal here a year ago when
they were ranked in Tier 1.

4. (C) Among other reasons, I am asking you to overrule
G/TIP so the U.S. will be credible on TIP issues. For
effective engagement with the Dutch on TIP, we must
acknowledge their efforts, set clear guidelines and stick
to them, then evaluate fairly according to the benchmarks.
Anything less will undermine our credibility and Dutch
desire to cooperate. Senior Dutch Justice and Foreign
Ministry officials have already complained strongly about
moving goalposts and an unfair process driven by ideology,
not benchmarks.

5. (C) Mr. Secretary, the Dutch are hopping mad over this.
I am concerned we are going to shoot ourselves, and this
relationship, in the foot. The indignity of an unjustified
downgrade to Tier 2 -- and our inability to point to any
criteria or performance that have changed for the worse --
is going to undermine the forceful public outreach we have
been making to strengthen the alliance. The Dutch are
extremely valuable allies to us, providing troops in
Afghanistan and Iraq and supporting us on transatlantic and
global issues. In the next month, the government faces a
delicate vote in parliament over extending Iraq troop
deployment and the MFA Political Director told me Friday
that a decision to put the Netherlands in Tier 2 would be
damaging and could not come at a worse time. In July, the
Dutch assume the EU presidency and will pick up from the
Irish on counter-terrorism, the Greater Middle East and the
whole US-EU agenda. We need cooperation with the
Netherlands both on TIP issues and these other profoundly
important issues across the board.

6. (SBU) Both the facts and U.S. interests lead to the same
conclusion, Mr. Secretary. I urge you to keep the
Netherlands where it has been and belongs, in Tier 1.

Sobel

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