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03THEHAGUE2997 2003-12-03 10:54:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy The Hague
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 002997 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/25/2013


Classified By: Ambassador Sobel for reasons 1.5 (b and d)

1. (C) Summary: SCC Amb. Tom Weston, accompanied by Amb.
Sobel, met with MFA Political Director Hugo Siblesz on
November 24, followed by a meeting with MFA deputy Political
Director for European Affairs Schaper, deputy DG for European
Affairs Ed Kronenberg, and DCM Russel. Weston briefed MFA
counterparts on his visit to Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus and
outlined the possibilities for a Cyprus settlement in coming
months. He strongly encouraged the Dutch and the EU to make
forward leaning statements before and immediately following
the December 12-13 EU Council meeting, which precedes
elections in northern Cyprus by one day. Encouragement that
prospects for accession negotiations were good if Turkey
further implements necessary reforms and advances the
settlement of the Cyprus issue would positively influence
Turkey's planned new year initiative on Cyprus. Siblesz
stressed that domestic politics will prevent the GoNL from
actively campaigning for Turkish accession, and the Dutch
Presidency of the EU in the second half of 2004 is a blessing
in disguise: rather than opposing a decision to start
negotiations, the GoNL can "hide" behind the impartiality of
its Presidency. End Summary.

2. (C) SCC Amb. Weston met with MFA policy makers in the
Hague on November 24, and outlined his recent meetings in
Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. Weston stressed the importance of
positive statements in upcoming weeks and months by the EU on
Turkish prospects for opening EU accession negotiations as an
incentive for both the political leadership in Turkey and the
populations in Cyprus to achieve a workable solution to the
Cyprus question. In view of the Turkish intention to launch
an initiative of some sort in January, the right message from
Europe will help ensure the Turks accept the need to get the
parties back into negotiations before May on the basis on
Annan 3. MFA DirGen for Political Affairs Hugo Siblesz
thanked Weston for the briefing, and agreed on the importance
of the next few months. However, Siblesz stressed Prime
Minister Balkenende's disappointment with his recent visit to
Ankara, calling the meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan "a
stonewalling." According to Siblesz, Erdogan said of Cyprus,
"It's your problem, not ours. You allowed Cyprus to enter
without meeting the political criteria." Siblesz believes
Turkey missed a "real chance" to communicate the right
message to Balkenende, particularly in light of the future
Dutch EU presidency.

3. (C) Balkenende's message to Ankara was that if no
settlement has been achieved by December 2004, Turkey's
accession will be "very complicated" (ref A). Weston
stressed the importance of European member-state leaders
making encouraging statements before the EU Council meeting
December 12-13. Such statements could positively affect the
December 14 election outcome in northern Cyprus, allowing the
opposition to gain votes and momentum. (Note: Weston stated
positive statements by the EU Council are also important, but
the Council meeting, ending the day prior to elections, is
not likely to make a strong impact. End Note.) Because of
strong domestic pressure against Turkish membership, Siblesz
said Balkenende will not commit himself to moving beyond the
Commission's report. Siblesz also made it clear the Prime
Minister would be "hard pressed" to go beyond his statements
in Ankara, but that the Dutch EU presidency might be a
blessing in disguise. Rather than letting negative political
sentiment coalesce into opposition to opening accession talks
with Turkey, the GoNL will be able to play the impartiality
card of the Dutch EU presidency.

4. (C) In a separate meeting, MFA Deputy DirGen for European
Affairs Ed Kronenburg and MFA Deputy DirGen for Political
Affairs were slightly more positive. Kronenburg fully
understood Weston's desire for strong, early statements by
the EU in favor of Turkish membership, comprehending that
waiting too long will remove any momentum for a solution in
Cyprus. Kronenburg and Schaper will discuss such options
with other EU members. However, Schaper again noted the
strong domestic pressure on the government against Turkish
membership will prohibit Dutch leadership on this issue in
public fora.

5. Amb. Weston cleared this cable.