Search

 

Cablegate: Dutch Pm Balkenende On China, Turkey, and The

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 001833

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/20/2014
TAGS: PREL CH TK IS NL
SUBJECT: DUTCH PM BALKENENDE ON CHINA, TURKEY, AND THE
MIDDLE EAST


Classified By: AMBASSADOR CLIFFORD SOBEL for Reasons 1/4 (B...


18933

2004-07-20

04THEHAGUE1833

Embassy The Hague

SECRET


S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001833

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/20/2014
TAGS: PREL CH TK IS NL
SUBJECT: DUTCH PM BALKENENDE ON CHINA, TURKEY, AND THE
MIDDLE EAST


Classified By: AMBASSADOR CLIFFORD SOBEL for Reasons 1/4 (B) and (D).

1. (C) SUMMARY: Prime Minister Balkenende told Ambassador
Sobel on July 20 the EU has not yet reached consensus on
lifting the China Arms Embargo before the December EU-China
summit. While strong voices in the EU are pushing for a
quick (but not unconditional) lift, others now appear less
convinced and a final decision has not yet been made. On
Turkey, Balkenende reiterated that a deal is a deal and the
EU's decision will depend on the European Commission's
October report, the drafting of which the Dutch are following
closely. Ambassador Sobel urged the EU to maintain pressure
on Arafat and the Palestinians to make needed reforms, and
noted that the Forum for the Future proposed at the G-8
summit provided a good venue for EU-U.S. cooperation on the
region. Ambassador Sobel also raised Sudan briefly and noted
standing requests for additional security for the Embassy.
END SUMMARY.

2. (C) Ambassador Sobel met with Dutch Prime Minister Jan
Pieter Balkenende on July 20 to discuss the Dutch EU
Presidency and related issues prior to the Dutch cabinet
going on vacation. Balkenende noted that he would be taking
the traditional long Dutch vacation in August, but would
remain in the Netherlands in case Presidency business
required his involvement. During the nearly one-hour
discussion, Balkenende and the Ambassador discussed the China
Arms Embargo, Turkish accession to the EU, and the Middle
East. Balkenende was accompanied by his chief foreign policy
advisor, Rob Swartbol; POLCOUNS (notetaker) accompanied
Ambassador Sobel.

CHINA ARMS EMBARGO: MORE THAN ONE OPTION?
------------------------------------------

3. (C) Ambassador Sobel stressed that the China Arms Embargo
was quickly rising to the top of the U.S.-EU agenda. Chinese
backsliding on human rights over the past two years was
deeply troubling, as was the continued Chinese threat to
regional stability. Lifting the arms embargo before seeing
real progress in these areas, he stressed, ran counter to the
Dutch step by step approach, would be counterproductive in
terms of influencing Chinese behavior. The Chinese were
still refusing to allow the UN's special rapporteur on
torture, van Boven, to visit despite having earlier agreed to
do so, he noted. (Balkenende suggested that the Chinese
might have problems with van Boven himself, rather than with
his office, noting that the Spanish had also had problems
with van Boven.) The Code of Conduct, he added, was not an
adequate substitute for the embargo, and we strongly doubted
the EU's ability to put stronger mechanisms in place. The
U.S. was looking to the Dutch, as EU president, to make sure
that the U.S. was not surprised by developments in this
area.

4. (S) In response, Balkenende said that the China Arms
Embargo was a sensitive and evolving issue within the EU. At
one point, there seemed to be a strong consensus for a quick
lift, he said, but now other tendencies could be emerging.
Even Chirac, Balkenende added, now was less adamant about
lifting the embargo than in the past. (Balkenende noted that
Chirac had earlier tried at the last minute to insert
language on lifting the embargo into a Council statement, but
had backed down when challenged.) He stressed that all
views would be taken into account before making a decision,
and denied that the EU was prepared to lift the embargo
without any conditions. China would have to take some
steps (NFI) to merit a decision to lift, he stated. That
said, the desire to strengthen EU-China ties in the near term
was very strong within the EU. The arms embargo was one
instrument the EU could use to influence the relationship,
but not the only one.

5. (C) Ambassador Sobel reiterated the need for transparency
and good communication as the issue developed. The Irish, he
pointed out, had not worked actively as president to develop
a consensus position, and the issue had naturally moved to
the next presidency without a resolution. Swartbol
intervened to note that while various tendencies did exist
within the EU, the strongest tendency at this point was to
lift the embargo, possibly as early as the fall.

TURKEY: ONCE AGAIN, YES......BUT
--------------------------------

6. (C) Turning to Turkey, Ambassador Sobel took note of
Balkenende's recent positive public statements and asked
where the issue currently stood. Balkendende observed that
the exact wording of the European Commission's October report
would be critical. The report, he predicted, would probably
state neither that Turkey had met all the Copenhagen criteria
fully, nor that it had failed to meet them; most likely, the
report would be positive but identify work remaining to be
done. In that case, he continued, the two realistic options
for the EU were either: A) to set a date for accession
negotiations, but make it conditional on achieving progress
in remaining areas, or B) to ask Turkey to take certain
specific steps with the clear understanding that a date would
be set as soon as they are accomplished.

7 (C) Balkenende reiterated that the EU must not rewrite the
rules to help or hinder Turkey's bid for accession -- a deal
is a deal. Talk of offering the Turks a privileged
partnership or other substitute (as the French and others,
including Christian Democrats in the European Parliament, had
hinted), he stressed, would not be acceptable. At the same
time, Balkenende made clear that negotiations on accession
would probably last for at several years, and that the Turks,
in his view, understood this as well. The Turks' interests
would be taken into account in the EU's decision, he said,
but the decision must also be sustainable domestically
throughout the EU. A big part of the EU's public relations
work, therefore, would be to convince skeptical national
parliaments and populations that agreeing to begin
negotiations would not lead to a flood of Turkish immigrants
or other undesirable outcomes. Balkenende predicted that
Chirac would ultimately side with Germany despite domestic
French opposition in order to preserve his relationship with
Schroeder.

8. (S) Balkenende made clear that U.S. sensitivities would be
taken into account as the EU made its decision, and that the
USG position was well known. He urged the USG, however, not
to give opponents to Turkish accession more fuel by making
public statements that appeared provocative in the European
context; for domestic reasons, Chirac and other European
leaders would feel compelled to respond to US statements on
the issue. Ambassador Sobel stressed that the USG would be
following the issue closely and urged that we be kept
informed. Swartbol noted that the Commission had just
started the process of drafting its report. He strongly
suggested that the Dutch (and he personally) would be able to
follow and perhaps influence the drafting process, albeit
behind the scenes.

MIDDLE EAST: KEEPING EU PRESSURE ON ARAFAT;
FORUM FOR THE FUTURE
--------------------------------------------- -

9. (C) Ambassador Sobel stressed that developments in the
Middle East made it imperative to keep pressure on Yasser
Arafat to reform. The situation is developing quickly, and
the EU's special relationship with the Palestinians could a
useful force for bringing about needed changes. On the
Broader Middle East/North Africa initiative, Ambassador Sobel
highlighted the Forum for the Future announced at the G-8
Sea Island summit.

SUDAN AND SECURITY
------------------

10. (C) In closing, Ambassador briefly raised the crisis in
Sudan and urged the EU to free up funding quickly to support
the AU peacekeeping force. He also noted that the Embassy
had requested additional security measures two years ago
which it had not yet received. Balkenende promised to bring
up the matter personally with the minister of interior.
RUSSEL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Myanmar: Military Must Stop Murdering And Jailing Protestors – Bachelet

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday said security forces in Myanmar must “halt their vicious crackdown on peaceful protestors,” following another day of deadly violence across the country on Wednesday... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>


2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>


Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at webtv.un.org UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>