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Cablegate: Netherlands/Gaerc: Pushing Human Rights Agenda

VZCZCXRO3196
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHTC #0855 2841224
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101224Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2075
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHCH/AMEMBASSY CHISINAU 0122
RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE 0077
RUEHSK/AMEMBASSY MINSK
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 1825
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 0115
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 0167

UNCLAS THE HAGUE 000855

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV NL UZ MD ZI BO
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/GAERC: PUSHING HUMAN RIGHTS AGENDA

REF: A. SECSTATE 108064
B. THE HAGUE 851

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Dutch will push human rights during the
October 13-14 GAERC discussions on Uzbekistan, Belarus, and
Zimbabwe, and a deliberate approach to reviewing Moldova's
relations with the EU. The Dutch are blocking consensus on
Uzbekistan. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Poloff shared reftel A points with key MFA contacts.
Regarding Uzbekistan, Deputy EU Correspondent Rochus Pronk
briefed allied, non-EU diplomats on October 8 concerning the
Dutch position. The EU presidency reportedly had hoped for
consensus to lift sanctions. However, the Dutch are the only
country to disagree. FM Verhagen wants a discussion of the
situation in Uzbekistan, which has not lived up to the April
benchmarks on releasing human rights defenders, supporting
press freedom, and lifting NGO restrictions. The Dutch want
to at least maintain the EU weapons embargo. The Dutch
expect to "reluctantly agree" to ending visa restrictions.

3. (SBU) Regarding Belarus, Pronk said FM Verhagen "sees no
reason for a substantial change in policy." Others agree
with the Dutch position, but the proposal by some in the EU
to lift visa restrictions and invite the FM to Brussels "is
going too fast." The Dutch are "open to discussing small
steps," but want to see the West engage wth opposition
parties in Belarus.

4. (SBU) In Zimbabwe, the Dutch are disappointed with the
lack of progress. Pronk said the EU had almost agreed on
conclusions for the GAERC, and that aid to Zimbabwe should be
addressed once the coalition agreement is implemented. The
Dutch believe the UN should be "more in the foreground" in
resolving the current situation.

5. (SBU) Regarding Moldova, the EU has agreed to a set of
conclusions for the GAERC, and there will be no offer of EU
membership. Some members want to speed up negotiations, but
the Dutch see a "long road ahead" for Moldova to make
progress on reforms.
CULBERTSON

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