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06THEHAGUE812 2006-04-12 13:34:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy The Hague
Cable title:  

NETHERLANDS/BURMA: RESPONSE TO EC COMMENTS AT

Tags:   PHUM EAID PREF PREL BM EU NL 
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1. (C) Summary: The GONL is adamantly opposed to any change
in the European Union's position on Burma. Sanctions should
remain in place. According to the Dutch, the comments of EU
officials, including European Commission DG for External
Relations Eneko Landaburu, do not represent EU policy. The
GONL disagrees also with Special Rapportuer Razali Ismael and
is interested in knowing whether Secretary General Annan
plans to replace him. End summary.



2. (C) Poloff delivered ref A demarche April 10 to MFA Burma
Policy Officer Maurice Pourchez. The GONL was extremely
unhappy, according to Pourchez, about Landaburu's comments at
the recent Burma/Myanmar Forum (ref B). According to
Pourchez, Landaburu's comments do not rpt not represent EU
consensus. The GONL does not expect the current EU position
on sanctions to change, and it views the positions of
Austria, Germany, Spain, the European Commission, and,
especially, Italy, as unacceptable. Those countries,
according to Pourchez, wish to lift sanctions and engage
only. The GONL believes that sanctions are absolutely
necessary to maintain credibility in ongoing dialogue with
the Burmese government.



3. (C) On the Burma issue, the Netherlands considers itself
aligned with Ireland, the UK and Denmark, all of which favor
continued sanctions. Pourcher stressed the GONL will
continue engaging the Burmese, both bilaterally and within an
EU context, at events such as the upcoming Asia Europe
Meeting (ASEM) in Vienna, to encourage positive change.



4. (C) The Dutch mission to the UN has, according to
Pourchez, asked the UN Secretariat staff whether UNSG Annan
will replace Special Rapporteur for Burma Razali Ismael. The
Dutch understand that Annan's staff is developing a new
action plan for Burma but does not have the details. They
hope it will be more robust and will be led by someone other
than Ismael. The GONL would appreciate any information we
have on this matter.
ARNALL