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04THEHAGUE2480 2004-09-29 09:40:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy The Hague
Cable title:  

DUTCH RESPONSE TO POTENTIAL HIGH LEVEL BURMESE

Tags:   PREL PGOV PHUM BU NL 
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					  UNCLAS THE HAGUE 002480 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EUR AND EAP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM BU NL
SUBJECT: DUTCH RESPONSE TO POTENTIAL HIGH LEVEL BURMESE
ATTENDANCE AT ASEM

REF: A. (A) MARTINEZ-BUCKNEBERG/BISHARAT/BARRASSO EMAIL

09/28/04

B. (B) THE HAGUE 2461 (PM BALKENENDE ILLNESS)



1. (SBU) Poloff spoke with Eric Verwaal, Head of Southeast
Asia and Oceania Division and Special Assistant to EU Envoy
Hans van den Broek September 28 to follow up Ref A message
regarding the potential for Burmese participation in the
October 8-9 Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) at a higher level than
Foreign Minister. Verwaal said he had also heard rumors that
the Burmese could potentially send a higher-level
representative, noting that Burmese Senior General Than Shwe
seems increasingly "more defiant" and such a scenario could
therefore not be ruled out. Verwaal agreed that this
situation "would create a serious problem" and that "the EU
would have to react." He confirmed that "one of the options"
would be that the EU could walk out of the meeting.
Nevertheless, Verwaal was careful to caution that EU
agreement on the matter would probably not be entirely
uniform - and "only a certain number" of EU members would be
likely ultimately to walk out.



2. (SBU) Verwaal reiterated that the understanding reached
between the EU, Japanese and Vietnamese meeting coordinators
was that the Burmese would attend only at FM or lower level.
He said the Dutch had pushed for only "official" level
participation but that the Asians had held out for the
Foreign Minister level. He commented that higher-level
Burmese participation would thus create even more
embarrassment for the Vietnamese hosts and Asian coordinators
than for the EU. Verwaal said the Vietnamese would certainly
know in advance of the meeting which Burmese officials
planned to attend in order to carry out registration
processing, and although he has asked the Vietnamese they
have not yet responded.



3. (SBU) The Dutch EU Presidency also confirmed September 28
that Luxembourg's Prime Minister will carry out the functions
of the EU Presidency in the absence of Dutch PM Balkenende at
ASEM (Balkenende is seriously ill as reported Ref B).
Verwaal noted that this would consist of making remarks at
the opening ceremony and contributing working-level
representation to the coordinating committee. (Comment:
Verwaal had also used the verbal construction the evening
prior to official announcement of this plan that "one option"
was for Luxembourg PM to carry out the EU role - lending
credence to the "option" that the EU might indeed walk out.)



4. (SBU) The Dutch are interested in comparing notes about
the newly-appointed Burmese officials, and have stated
previously that they would be willing to describe their
negotiation process in further detail after ASEM and exchange
ideas about handling upcoming ASEAN and related Burmese
participation.
SOBEL