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Cablegate: Scenesetter for Deputy Secretary Zoellick's April

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 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

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