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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04THEHAGUE1093 2004-05-03 05:42:00 SECRET Embassy The Hague
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR'S APRIL 23 MEETING WITH DUTCH POLITICAL

Tags:   PREL MOPS PHUM AF IZ CH NL EUN 
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					S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001093 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/22/2014
TAGS: PREL MOPS PHUM AF IZ CH NL EUN
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S APRIL 23 MEETING WITH DUTCH POLITICAL
DIRECTOR: IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, EU CHINA ARMS EMBARGO


Classified By: Ambassador Clifford M. Sobel for reasons 1.5 (B and D)



1. (C) Summary: Ambassador Sobel met with Dutch MFA
Political Director Hugo Siblesz on April 23 to discuss an
upcoming Iraqi judicial conference in The Hague, possible
Dutch leadership of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in
Afghanistan, extension of the Dutch troop deployment in Iraq,
the U.S.-EU transatlantic dialogue, and the EU's China Arms
Embargo. Siblesz expressed support for the proposed Iraqi
judicial conference. He outlined Dutch and German
discussions concerning PRT cooperation near the German-led
PRT in Konduz. He said that the cabinet was likely to decide
on an extension of the Dutch Iraq deployment in mid-May.
Siblesz expressed concern about the potential downgrading of
the Dutch on the U.S. TIP report (reported septel). He said
security would be the main focus of the transatlantic
dialogue during the Dutch EU Presidency. Concerning
opposition to lifting the EU arms embargo on China, he
suggested that the U.S. had a stronger argument in focusing
on regional stability and Taiwan rather than on human rights
concerns. End summary.



--------------------------


Iraqi Judicial Conference


--------------------------





2. (SBU) Amb. Sobel briefed Siblesz on the upcoming
CPA-sponsored conference on rule of law for approximately 20
Iraqi judges to take place in The Hague, May 5-7, 2004. The
conference will feature participation by Supreme Court
Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor as well
as UK Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Wolf.
Siblesz echoed FM Bot's enthusiasm for the project who said
that such events are "what The Hague is all about." Amb.
encouraged Dutch participation and requested GONL support for
logistics issues including security. Siblesz said he would
raise the matter with the Dutch Justice Ministry that
afternoon.



--------------------------


PRTs


--------------------------





3. (S) Amb. Sobel stressed that the U.S. encouraged Dutch
involvement with PRTs in Afghanistan. He observed that many
countries are interested in working in the north of the
country and raised the possibility of the Netherlands
deploying in the west. Siblesz said the Dutch military's
preference was to go to Baghlan near the German PRT at
Konduz, though the GONL had certain problems with German
arrangements for command and control. As far as the west was
concerned, the logistics were more problematic. He said that
the Dutch had spoken with Spanish FM Moratinos and said that
cooperation with the Spanish might be another option. That
said, the GONL's first priority was to work with the Germans,
further to an agreement between PM Balkenende and Chancellor
Schroeder during their meeting in The Hague the previous
week. Siblesz said the GONL still planned to reach a
decision in time for the Istanbul Summit. He said this
decision might also include a decision to deploy a small
number of Dutch Army special operations forces commandos in
support of Operation Enduring Freedom.



--------------------------


Iraq troop deployment


--------------------------





4. (C) Siblesz said the GONL was looking at mid-May for a
cabinet decision to extend the deployment of Dutch troops in
Iraq currently due to expire on July 15 (note: the Dutch
have 1300 troops in Al Muthanna province as part of the UK
Multinational Division. end note). He said the Cabinet
would have to make its decision on the basis of assumptions
about progress towards another UNSCR and a request from a new
Iraqi government. This would be followed by a parliamentary
debate. The cabinet decision might have to be linked to a
clause calling for additional discussion in June on the basis
of its assumptions about a UNSCR and an Iraqi request.
Siblesz said the GONL could proceed on the basis of support
from a simple majority in parliament, however its preference
is for consensus to include the main opposition Labor Party.
In this regard, signals from Labor are not very promising.
In terms of duration, Siblesz said the GONL was planning for
an eight month extension. This would accommodate two Dutch
troop rotations (which last four months) and would get past
the planned elections in January 2005.



--------------------------


U.S.-EU Transatlantic Agenda


--------------------------





5. (C) Amb. Sobel noted the April 26-27 visit of EUR/PDAS
Ries presented an excellent opportunity to look at
possibilities for the U.S.-EU transatlantic agenda during the
Dutch EU Presidency starting July 1. Siblesz said the Dutch
priorities would be "security, security, security." Amb.
Sobel said we were exploring the possibilities for meetings
between Sec. Ridge and Attorney General Ashcroft and their
Dutch counterparts during the Dutch presidency. Siblesz said
the EU's "basket" structure for addressing these issues might
not reflect the reality of what we are trying to accomplish.
Turning to terrorist-financing, Siblesz said that he
supported qualified majority voting on Clearing House issues.



--------------------------


EU China Arms Embargo


--------------------------





6. (C) The Ambassador argued against lifting the EU China
Arms Embargo. Siblesz said it appeared the Irish had passed
this issue to the Dutch Presidency, and that he would be
happy to pass it in turn to Luxembourg. The problem is the
EU-China Summit is due to take place during the Dutch
Presidency. He said that PRC officials raised the matter
repeatedly during PM Balkenende's recent trip to China.
Siblesz said that he did not think U.S. arguments against
lifting the embargo on human rights grounds were convincing.
A better argument against lifting was the possible effects on
regional stability and Taiwan. He contended that no one
would argue China's human rights situation was perfect, but
it was not in the same league as Zimbabwe or Sudan. He
thought the real challenge would be adjusting the EU Code of
Conduct on Arms Transfers to address China. His advice would
be for the U.S. to focus on addressing military goods within
this context. Siblesz said there was reluctance within the
EU to address this issue, "everyone is watching everyone."
He expected further discussion at the next EU political
director's meeting but "no one will speak out against
dropping it because it will get back to the Chinese." The
Ambassador pushed back again, stressing the importance of
maintaining the embargo.
SOBEL