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Cablegate: Netherlands Request for Letter Confirming

VZCZCXRO3140
OO RUEHAO
DE RUEHTC #0007 0080712
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 080712Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3632
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0007
RUEHAO/AMCONSUL CURACAO PRIORITY 0413
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHFJUSC/US CUSTOMS SERVICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUMIASA/USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

S E C R E T THE HAGUE 000007

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/07/2020
TAGS: PGOV PREL PARM MARR MOPS XL NT VE NL
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS REQUEST FOR LETTER CONFIRMING
COMPLIANCE WITH ANTILLES AGREEMENT

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Andrew C. Mann for reasons
1.4 (A) and (B).

1. (U) This is an action request, see paragraph 7.

2. (S) SUMMARY. Recent statements from Venezuela's President
Chavez have spawned Dutch parliamentary queries on aerial
activities operating from the Antilles. The MFA has
requested a letter signed by the Ambassador confirming that
the U.S. abides by the provisions of the March 2, 2000
Agreement of Cooperation Between the United States and the
Kingdom of the Netherlands Concerning Access To and Use of
Facilities In the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba For Aerial
Counter-Narcotics Activities (commonly referred to as the
FOL Agreement). The MFA has suggested draft language
(paragraph 5). END SUMMARY.

THE FOL AGREEMENT
-------------

3. (U) The FOL Agreement was concluded on March 2, 2000 to
facilitate access to and use of selected airfields in the
Netherlands Antilles and Aruba by authorized United States
armed forces and civilian personnel for counter-narcotics
activities. This bilateral agreement allows the USG access
to and use of the Hato International Airport in the
Netherlands Antilles and the Reina Beatrix International
Airport in Aruba as well as authorized ports and related
facilities, solely in connection with aerial
counter-narcotics detection and monitoring, and as
appropriate, interdiction missions in the neighboring region.


4. (U) Recently, Venezuelan President Chavez has publicly
asserted the U.S. with the support of the Dutch is using the
Antillian/Aruba airfields to support military operations in
Venezuela and the region in order to overthrow him. The
Dutch have strongly denied Chavez,s assertions and protested
to the Venezuelan Government. Still, members of parliament
are now questioning U.S. use of the airfields under the FOL
Agreement.

LETTER OF CONFIRMATION
----------------------

5. (S) The Dutch government strongly supports the
counter-narcotic efforts and understands that all operations
are conducted according to the agreement. Nonetheless, the
MFA has requested a letter from the U.S. Ambassador stating
the airfields are only being used as authorized in the FOL
Agreement. The MFA does not intend to release the letter to
the press, but only to quote from it in response to questions
posed by parliament. The MFA has suggested a letter along
the following lines:

Begin text:

At the request of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, I can confirm that the United States abides by the
purposes and provisions of the FOL Agreement of March 2,
2000. The facilities are used solely in connection with
unarmed aerial counter-narcotics reconnaissance flights.

End Text.

6. (S) COMMENT. Without a doubt, the contents from such a
letter will find their way to the press. Still, it is to our
benefit to assist the Dutch Government to state explicitly
that confirmation of compliance with the FOL Agreement has
been received from the U.S. The MFA would like to receive a
letter by Jan. 12 in order to use it in response to existing
parliamentary questions. END COMMENT.

7. (S) ACTION REQUEST: Post requests Washington authorize the
Ambassador to sign a letter, with Washington approved text,
QAmbassador to sign a letter, with Washington approved text,
as the MFA has requested.
MANN

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