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2005-01-21 15:32:00
Embassy The Hague
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 THE HAGUE 000161 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/21/2015

REF: A. STATE 9678



Classified By: Political Counselor Andrew Schofer for reasons 1.4 (b) a
nd (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: The U.S. and EU need to agree to disagree
on China and prepare a soft landing for the transatlantic
relationship after the inevitable lift of the China arms
embargo, Jaap Werner (MFA, Political Director) and Bahia
Tahzib (MFA Deputy European Correspondent) told Poloff during
discussion of reftel points January 20. Werner and Tahzib
urged us to accentuate the positive aspects of the U.S.-EU
relationship and welcomed the President's February visit to
Brussels. The UN should continue coordinating Tsunami relief
for now, they said, noting some in the EU press for a
free-standing, prominent EU role. There is fresh hope in the
Middle East and the EU has some fence-mending to do with
Israel, Werner admitted. On designation of Hizballah, the
Dutch maintain a strong preference for collective rather than
unilateral action and believe that USG efforts should focus
on undecided members, such as France and even the UK. On
Iraq, Werner said that message coordination on the outcome of
the elections is critical but will be difficult, not least
because the EU must try to arrive at a common position first,
including bringing France along. On Croatia, the GoNL is
skeptical that there will be cooperation on Gotovina;
Luxemburg has not set the rest of the Balkans agenda for the
GAERC. Iran is not on the agenda for the GAERC; the GoNL
thinks the February 28 IAEA deadline is too soon to honestly
assess Iran's intentions. Finally, on Cuba, Werner expects
the June measures to be modified, with an emphasis on
broadening outreach to the dissident community. End Summary.

2. (C) China:

Werner warned that the USG and the EU "need to start putting
things into play to soften the landing" of the "inevitable
lifting of the arms embargo in a few months." He and Tahzib
took exception to reftel's characterization of a lift as
"blow to transatlantic relations." They pointed to notable
areas of recent cooperation, such as with the tsunami
response and in the Ukraine and argued that "the U.S. knows
all the details of the lift by now and has had time to
prepare." He acknowledged Poloff's point that the February
visit of the President was intended to help renew the
transatlantic relationship (more below), and that a premature
lift could poison the visit. Werner said he had appreciated
but "had not been overwhelmed by" the numerous presentations
given to explain the USG objections and he still believes the
tool box/code of conduct "covers the issue." He urged the
U.S. to realize "it's not the end of the world; the EU has
these alternate arrangements in place." Poloff countered
that the USG message has been consistent, and negative, about
lifting the embargo, most recently in The Hague during
Secretary Powell's December visit. Werner said that we might

have to resolve the case as "agreeing to disagree." Poloff
urged Werner to work to delay any lift as long as possible
and reminded him that the issue remained very sensitive not
only for the executive branch in Washington but also for
Congress, which has its own dynamic and strong interests in
this matter which must not be underestimated.

3. (C) Transatlantic Relations:

Pointing to "positive vibes from Secretary-designate Rice,"
Werner said his high expectations - and active planning - for
the President's February visit were matched across the EU.
The EU will try not to lecture the President, and he hoped
the President would likewise refrain from lecturing them. He
hoped EU President Luxemburg would "orchestrate, not
pre-cook" it while acknowledging that the welcome "needs to
be carefully managed by both sides." As for broader and
longer term dialogue and action, Werner clearly welcomed
Poloff's reminder that the USG highly values Dutch input and
ideas on the widest range of topic and warmly promised to
keep lines of communication and cooperation open and active
at all levels.

4. (C) Tsunami Disaster:

The Dutch are satisfied with how OCHA (UN Humanitarian
Affairs) and the UN had coordinated tsunami response in the
near term, Werner said, and he expected the UN to continue in
this role into the midterm. He noted that the political
aspects (and hence, the work for diplomats rather than aid
workers) of the crisis are only beginning to emerge. Longer
term, he said the Dutch await the results of the ongoing
World Bank needs assessment. He strongly praised the "rapid
and generous USG response," noting how "impressed he had been
that we had had aircraft carriers on the spot within days
flying helicopter missions for all the world to see"; this
will be "good for the USG image in Europe and the region," he
added with a smile. He said the EU is now discussing whether
the UN should continue to have primacy in coordinating all
response or whether there is a defined role that the EU can
assume for itself, as some EU member states strongly desire,
he revealed. Luxemburg is organizing a review of the EU's
crisis response capacity, Werner concluded.

5. (C) Middle East:

While the EU will continue to "warn Israel when it crosses
red lines, like with the wall/fence or settlements," Werner
said, he emphasized that the Netherlands welcomes the recent
positive actions taken by both sides. He agreed with Poloff
that the EU "has a credibility problem in the region" and
believed "this is not the best time to criticize Israel."
The GoNL believes that "clarity soon on final status issues
would improve the effectiveness of what we all do now," he
said. "Supporting Abu Mazen is today's challenge," he
concluded, adding, "We want to see Israel invest in him, too
and not make of him merely Arafat II."

6. (C) Hizballah as a terrorist organization:

In a separate conversation with Econoff, Wouter Jurgens (MFA
political directorate, senior policy officer responsible for
terrorist finance issues) noted that the issue was not likely
to be raised at this GAERC. He said the GoNL position had
not changed since they argued for EU designation of the
entire entity during the November 10 EU Clearinghouse
discussions (refs b and c). The Dutch still maintain a
strong preference for collective rather than unilateral
action on this issue and believed that USG efforts should
focus on still undecided members, such as France and even the

7. (C) Iraq:

"Iraq should give us a lesson in damage control," Werner
said. He agreed the EU and USG should coordinate
post-election messages but he was not sure how to open a
channel for that purpose. The EU would first need to get a
common position, he said, noting that "especially France
could be a challenge if they take a critical view." "There
is a spectrum for choices of words," Werner noted, each with
its own resonance and connotations, such as the elections
"were a success," or "a qualified success," or, "mostly
successful but for pockets of problems," and so on. The GoNL
would welcome an "active keeping in touch in capitals and
constant checking" to ensure a clear message to the press."
He noted that the GAERC follows the scheduled elections by
one day, and that the elections might still be on-going at
the time; therefore, GAERC statements might be difficult to
draft and coordinate with us.

8. (C) Balkans:

Werner complained that Luxemburg had not yet set the agenda
for the Balkans discussion. It could include Bosnia,
possibly Kosovo; Croatia is "guesswork at this point."
Poloff pressed Werner on Gotovina, stressing that the EU
should not give Croatia a pass on accession negotiations, and
on being true to the EU's avowed hope for "effective
multilateralism" in this case. Werner said the GoNL remains
"skeptical about Croatia's cooperation."

9. (C) Iran:

Iran is not on the GAERC agenda, Werner said The EU, running
negotiations with Iran on a number of tracks, seems to
believe the USG is "coming around" to a new look at Iran
since it appears to have "condoned the EU3 initiative to
date." When Poloff raised the February 28 deadline at the
IAEA's BOG, Werner countered, "Let's take a few weeks of
months for this; February is too soon to assess Iran in the
terms of a constructive engagement."
He noted that the EU was also telling Iran to show its bona
fides, as laid out in reftel, by not interfering in Iraq's
election and ending support for Hizballah and Palestinian
rejectionists. He offered to "stay in touch to discuss
strategy and outcomes."

10. (C) Cuba:
The GAERC will take the Cuba decision as an A point, Werner
said, meaning the EU has decided to change its "June
measures" as earlier reported. At the same time, the EU is
"trying to make a swing to a more pro-dissident policy."
Werner would not admit, though pressed, that the relaxation
of the June measures would include an insistence on the
release of the 61 prisoners within the six-month trial
period, neither could he promise that the EU was planning to
keep human rights "paramount." Rather, he said the EU was
likely to take a more comprehensive view, which includes
human rights. (Note: the MFA's human rights office has
limited input into the GoNL's overall Cuba policy, he said;
action lies with the Western Hemisphere and Political
Director's office.) Poloff reiterated the USG's request to
be included in the EU's human rights briefings in Havana.