|03THEHAGUE3168||2003-12-23 15:46:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy The Hague|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
5 (b and d)
(C) PolOff delivered reftel demarche to Dutch MFA Arms
Transfer Policy Office Deputy Director Alexander Verbeek and
Asia Policy Officer Gerbrand Visser on December 23. Verbeek
was not surprised by the demarche, acknowledging that the
embargo would be discussed in the EU's upcoming January 8
COASI meeting. That said, he emphasized COASI was a forum
for "purely technical" discussions, and no decisions would be
made until the EU FM's GAERC meeting at the end of January.
Verbeek said the GONL position on the embargo is still being
formulated, but the Dutch make a clear linkage between the
embargo and human rights. He noted that FM Bot had been
questioned in parliament recently about the Dutch position
with regard to the German-French embargo initiative.
According to Verbeek, FM Bot said the embargo should be
discussed "within an EU context to see if we still need it,"
and if not "we should get something back in return."
Further, Verbeek noted that a recent parliamentary
resolution, which underlined MPs' concerns about China's
human rights situation and its aggressive stance towards
Taiwan, requested the Dutch government oppose lifting the
embargo. This resolution garnered overwhelming support,
which makes it difficult for FM Bot to support lifting the
embargo unless there is otherwise unanimous support within
the EU for such a step. Verbeek stressed the need for any
such EU decision to be unanimous, and observed that even if
the EU voted to lift the embargo, the EU Code of Conduct on
Weapons Exports and its criteria for regional stability make
it "in practice impossible" to supply arms to China.