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Cablegate: Dutch/Eu: Fm Bot On Iraq, China, Asem, Sudan, And

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

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001717

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/08/2024
TAGS: PREL PARM EAID NL IZ CH SU EUN
SUBJECT: DUTCH/EU: FM BOT ON IRAQ, CHINA, ASEM, SUDAN, AND
CANADA

REF: A. THE HAGUE 1701

B. SECSTATE 1...

18563

2004-07-09

04THEHAGUE1717

Embassy The Hague

SECRET

04THEHAGUE1701

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001717

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/08/2024
TAGS: PREL PARM EAID NL IZ CH SU EUN
SUBJECT: DUTCH/EU: FM BOT ON IRAQ, CHINA, ASEM, SUDAN, AND
CANADA

REF: A. THE HAGUE 1701

B. SECSTATE 147536

Classified By: AMBASSADOR CLIFFORD SOBEL. REASONS: 1.4(B) AND (D).

1. (S) SUMMARY: Ambassador Sobel met with Dutch Foreign
Minister Ben Bot on July 7 to preview the agenda for the July
12-13 General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC)
in Brussels. Bot anticipated that the GAERC would agree to
take positive steps with regard to Iraq and Sudan, although
he expressed concern that the EU was not receiving full
credit for ongoing activities in Sudan. In separate meetings
with Finance Minister Zalm and at the MFA, EB A/S Wayne
pressed for greater EU engagement on Iraq debt reduction and
assistance. Bot said the China Arms Embargo probably would
be discussed at the September Gymnich, but made clear that
holding a successful Chinese summit is a top priority for the
Dutch Presidency. Burma remains a ticklish issue for the EU
which puts the ASEM summit at risk; for other reasons, the
EU-Canada summit probably will not take place either. END
SUMMARY.

IRAQ
----

2. (S) According to Bot, agreeing on a plan for EU support
for Iraq would be high on the GAERC's agenda. Iraqi
President Allawi, he said, had confirmed his intention to
attend the session and would join the ministers for lunch.
For security reasons, however, this information was not being
circulated widely. (Note: We were subsequently told by a
Dutch MFA contact that Allawi later decided not to attend the
session. End Note). Bot stressed that the EU sincerely
wanted to be helpful to the new Iraqi government and would
look to Allawi for input in identifying critical needs. The
Solana-Patten letter of June 9, 2004, he added laid out
general areas in which the EU felt comfortable making
contributions, i.e. supporting the political process
(including elections), promoting security and stability in
Iraq and the region, and engaging with Iraq to lay the
foundations for longer-term relations.

3. (C) Bot noted that he had recently had dinner with NATO
SYG Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and supported his efforts to
involve NATO in training and other activities inside Iraq.
It will be important, he noted, to ensure that NATO and EU
efforts do not interfere with one another.

4. (C) In separate meetings July 7 with Finance Minister
Gerrit Zalm and MFA Director General for Political Affairs
Hugo Siblesz, visiting EB A/S Tony Wayne pressed for greater
Dutch and EU engagement on Iraq debt reduction and
assistance. A/S Wayne explained that the USG planned to work
through the Core Group, which includes the EU, to coordinate
closely with the UN on supporting political transition and
economic reconstruction in Iraq. The USG hoped for concrete
actions by the year's end. Additional USG commitments would
be based on IMF sustainability analysis. A/S Wayne urged the
Dutch to use their role as EU President to support EU
adoption of a similar pragmatic approach. While agreeing
that such a non-political approach was best, Zalm said that
additional bilateral Dutch pledges, including debt reduction,
would need to be drawn from the country's development
assistance funds, currently capped at 0.8 percent of GDP.
Any additional funds directed toward Iraq would mean a cut in
assistance to currently funded programs in other countries
with possibly greater needs. Siblesz said the EU was clearly
interested in hearing directly from Allawi; his input on the
situation on the ground in Iraq could help to engage the EU
and reluctant Members States (i.e., France). Siblesz added
that there would be a meeting this week of Member States with
assistance programs in Iraq to examine how such programs
could be expanded on an EU-basis in such areas as police
training, rule of law, and electoral support.

CHINA ARMS EMBARGO
------------------

5. (S) Ambassador Sobel reiterated to Bot the strong U.S.
interest in avoiding a decision to lift the China Arms
Embargo. Noting that the issue was not on the agenda for the
upcoming GAERC, Bot said that it probably would be discussed
at the September 13-14 Gymnich instead. As EU president, the
Dutch were working to strengthen the code of conduct while
encouraging China to make progress on human rights.
Personally, Bot said, he wished that the Dutch had not
inherited this difficult and emotional issue from the Irish
presidency, but they would have to deal with it one way or
another. Lots of EU member states, he added, were pushing to
abolish the embargo, and as president the Dutch had to remain
objective. Bot made clear that his top priority was to
ensure that a successful China-EU summit occurred during the
Dutch presidency; he was explicitly less concerned with what
steps would be necessary to make this happen. Bot indicated
that France and China were suggesting that the summit might
be canceled unless action was taken on the embargo.
Ambassador Sobel stressed that we did not want to be
surprised in this area.

ASEM SUMMIT AND BURMA
---------------------

6. (S) Noting that Burma was another ticklish issue for the
EU, Bot said that he hoped for a compromise that would allow
the EU-ASEM summit to go forward as planned. The Burmese, he
said, needed to make some sort of credible good-will gesture
with regard to Aung Sang Suu Kyi to move the process forward.
The parliament and NGO community in the Netherlands was
following this issue closely; even though they were not as
influential as in Britain, he added, the GONL still needed to
take their concerns seriously. So far, the EU had been
unable to agree on a compromise solution for the ASEM summit,
such as agreeing to let Burma participate in a lesser
capacity. Having the Burmese represented at the ministerial
level, for example, would still be too high according to
Bot. Bot said that he had discussed this issue with
Secretary Powell in Istanbul and had sought his support in

SIPDIS
influencing Indonesia and other Asian countries to put
pressure on Burma to be more accommodating.

SUDAN
-----

7. (C) Turning to Sudan, Bot said that the EU is already
doing a lot with regard to the Darfur crisis but does not
get credit for it. Noting that the Dutch have been pushing
this issue within the EU, Bot said the GAERC would consider
not only additional steps, but also how to publicize those
measures the EU is already taking. Bot noted that he had
discussed this issue briefly with Secretary Powell in
Istanbul.

CANADA
------

8. (C) Bot noted with some exasperation that the EU-Canada
summit scheduled for the Dutch Presidency probably would be
postponed. The Canadian Prime Minister, he said, was worried
about his domestic political situation and had proposed
impossible dates for the summit. Unless they could come up
with better dates, Bot said, the summit would not take place.

COMMENT
-------

9. (S) The Dutch presidency has barely started, and already
faces the possibility of three failed summits: ASEM, Canada,
and China. Of the three, the Chinese is clearly the most
important -- and the one by which the Dutch presidency is
most likely to be judged. Bot's determination to hold a
EU-China summit at almost any cost, and his insistence that
the Dutch must remain objective on the Arms Embargo
question reinforces the message we have heard elsewhere that
the Dutch will not take a leading or facilitating role in
delaying a decision on lifting the arms embargo if the
Chinese (and, Bot suggested, France) make it a precondition
for a summit.
SOBEL

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