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courage is contagious

Viewing cable 09THEHAGUE196, SCENESETTER FOR THE SECRETARY'S MARCH 31 MEETING

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09THEHAGUE196 2009-03-23 10:10 2011-01-17 00:12 SECRET Embassy The Hague
Appears in these articles:
Cable
04THEHAGUE2415
On
EU-membership
Turkey
http://content1b.omroep.nl/57671e06004c11fe8aee220237f1c1e3/4d34425e/nos/docs/wikileaks/04THEHAGUE2415.pdf
04THEHAGUE2735
On
EU-membership
Turkey
http://content1c.omroep.nl/6b3db36fcbbf38cb043bd1a2b2ac220c/4d3445d9/nos/docs/wikileaks/04THEHAGUE2735.pdf
05THEHAGUE1434
On
EU-membership
Turkey
http://content1d.omroep.nl/c448f32c7c20c61092ad2107cceb962e/4d3445e5/nos/docs/wikileaks/05THEHAGUE1434.pdf
05THEHAGUE2599
On
Geert
WIlders
http://content1b.omroep.nl/3a3c70db98ac5eb8760eb1c03b92f141/4d3445f9/nos/docs/wikileaks/05THEHAGUE2599.pdf
06THEHAGUE834
On
Geert
WIlders
http://content1a.omroep.nl/531f659eb99e92f528b6c9dcaa5373cd/4d344607/nos/docs/wikileaks/06THEHAGUE834.pdf
06THEHAGUE2597
On
Geert
WIlders
http://content1c.omroep.nl/708e678c9a47994dbde3275fc6f4a80c/4d344654/nos/docs/wikileaks/06THEHAGUE2597.pdf
07THEHAGUE1295
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
http://content1d.omroep.nl/5d71ea5d51f8a5898e365e771bb4fd43/4d34465f/nos/docs/wikileaks/07THEHAGUE1295.pdf
07THEHAGUE1364
On
AWACS
http://content1d.omroep.nl/da1d29ba2a816716ff5dad4d27210713/4d34466f/nos/docs/wikileaks/07THEHAGUE1364.pdf
07THEHAGUE1729
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
http://content1b.omroep.nl/90b177f1ac30616c19fec1eac422d1a9/4d34467b/nos/docs/wikileaks/07THEHAGUE1729.pdf
07THEHAGUE2082
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
http://content1c.omroep.nl/365ab2aa2d122f1afbcbb420e903437e/4d344687/nos/docs/wikileaks/07THEHAGUE2082.pdf
08THEHAGUE102
On
the
film
Fitna
by
Geert
Wilders
http://content1a.omroep.nl/9f94e30da329f4a5440bdaec80912c2f/4d344696/nos/docs/wikileaks/08THEHAGUE102.pdf
08JEDDAH401
-
08THEHAGUE133
On
the
film
Fitna
by
Geert
Wilders
http://content1c.omroep.nl/ff1e070ec488567fced5fc14542f87e9/4d3446a6/nos/docs/wikileaks/08JEDDAH84.pdf
08THEHAGUE185
On
AWACS
http://content1b.omroep.nl/17f44d5100bcd9d2f8697723a305da52/4d3446b7/nos/docs/wikileaks/08THEHAGUE185.pdf
08THEHAGUE302
On
the
film
Fitna
by
Geert
Wilders
http://content1c.omroep.nl/c76e4c9adb051af2fa7e449dcf8ada57/4d3447d3/nos/docs/wikileaks/08THEHAGUE302.pdf
09THEHAGUE92
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
http://content1c.omroep.nl/6a98ac73d3027ce3acfdaf1b05b321ea/4d3447e6/nos/docs/wikileaks/09THEHAGUE92.pdf
09THEHAGUE196
On
Maxime
Verhagen
and
the
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
http://content1b.omroep.nl/c051cf59634edbbd61459741a01b8f3a/4d3447f2/nos/docs/wikileaks/afghanistan_09THEHAGUE196.pdf
07THEHAGUE714
On
the
Joint
Strike
Fighter
http://content1a.omroep.nl/071b1b715b6fdbff0fe2bd41743c7a7a/4d344808/nos/docs/wikileaks/09THEHAGUE264.pdf
09THEHAGUE264
On
the
Joint
Strike
Fighter
http://content1b.omroep.nl/1468100a066d78fc0bc4a59d28a4a683/4d34483b/nos/docs/wikileaks/09THEHAGUE264.pdf
Cable
09THEHAGUE271
(24-04-09):
On
the
Joint
Strike
Fighter
http://content1a.omroep.nl/201c1fa1234dc76574421cdde39c4c16/4d34481c/nos/docs/wikileaks/09THEHAGUE271.pdf
Cable
09THEHAGUE328
(02-06-09):
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
http://content1a.omroep.nl/f8094fe30fcaf390c47232299ed62cb5/4d344879/nos/docs/wikileaks/afghanistan_09THEHAGUE328.pdf
Cable
09THEHAGUE395
(06-07-09):
On
Geert
WIlders
http://content1a.omroep.nl/b9066689664b60d15bc714eb1df089fb/4d3448ac/nos/docs/wikileaks/09THEHAGUE395.pdf
Cable
09THEHAGUE399
(06-07-09):
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
and
Wouter
Bos
http://content1c.omroep.nl/67ac7aa0af3a267435a5b161e883ed3a/4d3448be/nos/docs/wikileaks/09THEHAGUE399.pdf
Cable
09THEHAGUE418
(13-07-09):
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
and
Wouter
Bos
http://content1d.omroep.nl/b25c9d859b9e17b64710f96bd0c2cef2/4d3448db/nos/docs/wikileaks/09THEHAGUE418.pdf
Cable
09THEHAGUE514
(25-08-09):
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
and
Wouter
Bos
http://content1c.omroep.nl/266a7c477784f54fd7d745a15d29c1c6/4d3448e8/nos/docs/wikileaks/09THEHAGUE514.pdf
Cable
09THEHAGUE543
(10-09-09):
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
http://content1c.omroep.nl/f331f8ee45e8d74dca37b1ef7088e4db/4d344a32/nos/docs/wikileaks/afghanistan_09THEHAGUE543.pdf
Cable
09THEHAGUE567
(18-09-09):
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
and
Wouter
Bos
http://content1c.omroep.nl/39b064f4b6e3d9dd1862c15e0059fb9d/4d344a4f/nos/docs/wikileaks/afghanistan_09THEHAGUE567.pdf
Cable
09THEHAGUE568
(21-09-09):
On
the
Joint
Strike
Fighter
http://content1c.omroep.nl/85e8e7dc894345d17cbcc27f6eb66698/4d344a5a/nos/docs/wikileaks/09THEHAGUE568.pdf
Cable
09THEHAGUE726
(03-12-09):
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
http://content1b.omroep.nl/2a610a1bfe8c49639436ab141a6026e0/4d344a68/nos/docs/wikileaks/09THEHAGUE726.pdf
Cable
09THEHAGUE731
(04-12-09):
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
http://content1c.omroep.nl/6cc328f7f99495831cacb65f35d7bb3e/4d344a76/nos/docs/wikileaks/09THEHAGUE731.pdf
Cable
09THEHAGUE759
(21-12-09):
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
and
Wouter
Bos
http://content1c.omroep.nl/fc5628caae93733548c16ed699e48143/4d344a84/nos/docs/wikileaks/09THEHAGUE759.pdf
Cable
10THEHAGUE114
(24-02-10):
On
the
IASF-mission
in
Afghanistan
http://content1d.omroep.nl/dc9ccc5066968d4ac6a224581fc0aa28/4d344a90/nos/docs/wikileaks/afghanistan_10THEHAGUE114.pdf
VZCZCXRO6964
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV
DE RUEHTC #0196/01 0821038
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 231038Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2688
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 THE HAGUE 000196 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/16/2019 
TAGS: PREL OVIP PINR MOPS PHUM AF NL
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR THE SECRETARY'S MARCH 31 MEETING 
WITH DUTCH FM VERHAGEN 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaire...



198269,3/23/2009 10:38,09THEHAGUE196,"Embassy The
Hague",SECRET,,"VZCZCXRO6964
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV
DE RUEHTC #0196/01 0821038
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 231038Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2688
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC","S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 THE
HAGUE 000196
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/16/2019
TAGS: PREL OVIP PINR MOPS PHUM AF NL
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR THE SECRETARY'S MARCH 31 MEETING
WITH DUTCH FM VERHAGEN
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Michael F. Gallagher for reasons 1.5(b
,d)
Madam Secretary:
--------
Overview:
--------
1. (S) Your participation in the Afghanistan conference and
the March 31 meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime
Verhagen is well-timed to advance key U.S. priorities,
particularly in securing Afghanistan. Verhagen and the whole
Dutch government remain among our strongest allies, but Dutch
domestic politics threatens to limit progress on our common
agenda. On Afghanistan, Verhagen faces an uphill battle to
convince parliament and the Dutch people to continue combat
missions after 2010. At stake is the deployment of 1,700
Dutch troops in Uruzgan, one of the toughest provinces in
Afghanistan. By agreeing to host the Afghanistan conference,
Verhagen is taking the first step to extend the Dutch
commitment. The Foreign Minister said the Netherlands had
been asked to host the conference due to the success of its
comprehensive (&3-D8) approach in Uruzgan.
2. (C) Verhagen is a skilled politician, having previously
served in parliament as party spokesman for the Netherlands,
largest political party, the center-right Christian Democrats
(CDA). Accordingly, Verhagen is extremely close to Prime
Minister Balkenende and is trusted to take the lead on
foreign affairs while most of the Dutch government is focused
on the economic crisis. The weak governing coalition --
which includes CDA, the center-left Labor Party (PvdA), and
the small Christian Union (CU) -- is held together less by a
common vision than by fear of electoral losses if the
government were to collapse ahead of the next scheduled
election in 2011. Despite these divisions, Verhagen and
Balkenende have successfully steered the Dutch government
toward an active foreign policy that largely aligns with our
interests.
3. (C) Verhagen plans to use his bilateral meeting with you
to start building a close working relationship. He wants the
new Administration to see the Netherlands as a reliable
partner with the U.S., sharing many of our goals. We
recommend you focus discussions on Afghanistan and human
rights (including Guantanamo) (paragraphs 5-11), but other
possible topics are also discussed below (paragraphs 12-17).
4. (SBU) 2009 marks the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson,s
&discovery8 of the Hudson Valley and New Amsterdam in 1609.
The Dutch government and the city and state of New York have
planned a yearlong celebration (New York 400 ) NY400)
honoring our strong bilateral ties and stressing our ""shared
DNA"" -- including our values of freedom, democracy,
entrepreneurship, diversity, and tolerance. You may wish to
comment on our joint history and shared future when you meet
Verhagen, especially when you talk to the press.
-----------
Afghanistan
-----------
5. (C) The Netherlands is a small ally making a big impact in
Afghanistan since 2001. They are the fourth largest aid
donor in Afghanistan. Ranked by percentage of their military
forces deployed, the Netherlands is the second largest
military contributor in Afghanistan )- proportionally they
are making three to four times the contribution of France or
Germany. And Dutch soldiers are deployed to the most
dangerous parts of Afghanistan. However, the Dutch are
considering dramatically scaling back their combat presence
in 2010, perhaps to just a few hundred soldiers, and
concentrating more on development assistance.
6. (C) Although the public supports its soldiers in the
Q6. (C) Although the public supports its soldiers in the
field, involvement in Afghanistan is not popular in the
Netherlands. Thus far the Dutch have lost 18 soldiers. The
2007 decision to extend the Dutch military deployment was
prolonged and politically difficult. Any government decision
to stay engaged in Afghanistan past 2010 will be even more
difficult to sustain. Among the challenges is a Dutch
perception that they have done more than their share. Many
political leaders supported the previous deployment decisions
with statements that another NATO ally would replace the
Dutch at the conclusion of their tour. Dutch opinion leaders
are also concerned about the effect of the deployment on
military readiness and recruitment. Often cited is the
shortfall of 7,000 personnel in a 42,000-member service. The
Dutch are also daunted by reports that the ISAF mission is
THE HAGUE 00000196 002 OF 004
failing to bring security to the Afghan people, and that
development assistance programs are ineffective. The public
at large is skeptical that the situation in Afghanistan
presents a threat to Europeans. Finally, although casualties
have been relatively light by U.S. standards, their emotional
impact on a small country with limited recent combat
experience cannot be overstated. In April 2008, for example,
the country was shocked to learn of the death of First
Lieutenant Dennis van Ulm on the same day that his father,
General Pieter van Ulm, was sworn in as the new Dutch Chief
of Defense.
7. (C) Such traumatic events have not swayed Verhagen and PM
Balkenende's commitment to the NATO/ISAF mission and the
Afghan people. In 2009, just as in 2007, we expect that both
Verhagen and Balkenende will be strong and effective allies
in winning support from the parliament. The support of the
Labor Party, particularly Development Cooperation Minister
Koenders, will be essential. The Dutch are expecting a
request through NATO for continuing military support, but it
is important the request come in the form of consultations
among equals rather than through public pressure, which would
backfire with the Dutch public and politicians. The
Afghanistan Conference this month will do a great deal to
show that the Dutch are not only active participants but
leading members in the review and strategic planning process.
Your meeting with Verhagen will further emphasize this
point. Other &selling points8 for the public will be (1)
recognition that Afghanistan poses a clearly defined threat
to international stability and (2) an improved military
strategy that shows that we can and will prevail. Most
importantly to the Dutch public, perhaps, will be concrete
success stories that we are creating a better life for the
Afghan people. Finally, Dutch policy-makers believe in the
&3D8 approach and welcome your effort to integrate defense,
development, and diplomacy. A previous Dutch commander of
Task Force Uruzgan argued that the Dutch 3D approach can
&make the Taliban irrelevant8 by winning hearts and minds.
8. (C) The Dutch will be interested in the U.S. analysis of
Pakistan,s role in solving the Afghanistan quandary. After
suspending aid to Pakistan in 2008, the Dutch expect to
provide as much as 112 million euro in development aid to
Pakistan over the next three years, with the timing of a
public announcement yet to be determined. The government
will continue to watch political developments there closely
out of concern the government may not live up to its
democratic commitments.
---------------------------
Human Rights and Guantanamo
---------------------------
9. (S) Verhagen has made human rights a priority for the
Dutch government and his hallmark as Foreign Minister. The
Dutch are anxious to work closely with us on human rights
issues and welcome the return of the U.S. as an observer to
the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. The Dutch are
serving a second consecutive term on the Council, and while
they share our frustration with the results, Verhagen will
probably encourage you to seek an HRC seat in 2009 or 2010.
In addition, Verhagen may suggest a joint U.S.-Dutch
initiative to counter violence against women or to attack
child labor. The Dutch are also trying to salvage the Durban
review conference on racism, including by circulating an
abbreviated draft that removes references to Israel that are
offensive to us and the Dutch. Perhaps the best opportunity
Qoffensive to us and the Dutch. Perhaps the best opportunity
for expanding cooperation is in the area of development
assistance. The Netherlands is the world,s sixth largest
aid donor, providing over 4 billion euro ($6.1 billion)
annually, and Dutch programs are rated as highly effective
compared to other nations.
10. (S) Verhagen has been critical of Guantanamo, and did not
lose an opportunity to raise his concerns about Guantanamo
with the previous administration. The Dutch parliament,s
debate and fierce criticism of Guantanamo have permeated the
Dutch press and public,s perceptions. Closing Guantanamo,
therefore, will go a long way toward improving Dutch
skepticism of U.S. policies on human and civil rights.
Verhagen publicly saluted the President,s decision to close
Guantanamo, but he also publicly told Parliament that the
Dutch government has no plans to accept detainees.
Nonetheless, Verhagen,s personal staff recommended that you
raise the issue with him privately, to encourage him to stay
open to the idea of supporting an EU proposal to help the
United States. A less difficult alternative for the Dutch
than accepting detainees would be providing funding to assist
with the transfer of detainees to third countries. With an
eye to the future, FM Verhagen is funding a two-year study of
THE HAGUE 00000196 003 OF 004
the nexus of human rights, humanitarian law, and use of
force, thus aiming to resolve the knotty legal issues
surrounding Guantanamo.
11. (SBU) Finally, Verhagen may ask you about U.S. support
for the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Dutch are
proud of serving as the &home of international law8 and
hosting many international legal institutions such as the
International Court of Justice. If you or the President
chose to make a major announcement on the ICC, or U.S.
commitment to international law and human rights, no setting
in Europe would be more appropriate than The Hague, the
Netherlands.
------------------------------
Other Issues - Economic Crisis
------------------------------
12. (U) The Dutch financial sector has been hit hard by the
global financial crisis, due in part to exposure to U.S.
mortgage-backed securities and other toxic assets. The
government has responded assertively with several measures to
assist banks and their customers, most dramatically by
nationalizing the Dutch operations of Fortis Bank and by
providing capital to ING and guaranteeing part of its U.S.
mortgage portfolio.
13. (U) The Dutch real economy is struggling. After 2
percent GDP growth in 2008, the latest official estimate is a
3.5 percent contraction in 2009. Dutch exports are expected
to decline by 12 percent this year, a major blow to this
trade-dependent economy. The Port of Rotterdam, Europe's
largest, has already seen a 15 percent decline in port
traffic since October. Several Dutch industry giants have
announced layoffs. The current unemployment rate of 3.9
percent is forecast to climb to 5.5 percent in 2009 (still
considerably lower than the EU average). The GONL has passed
two stimulus packages and is expected to announce a third
shortly.
14. (U) An invitation to the G-20 summit in London is a major
win for the Dutch, who fought hard to be included in the
November 2008 Washington G-20 summit. Although not a G-20
member, the Dutch argued successfully that they play a major
role in the international financial system (for instance, it
is an active member of the Financial Stability Forum). Now,
with a second invitation, the Dutch hope to have assured
their seat at the table for future G-20 events. At the
London summit, we can expect the Dutch to support Germany and
other key member states in a call for much broader financial
regulation ) but to refrain from supporting new stimulus
packages until the results of current stimulus measures can
be determined. They will support the G-20,s expansion to
include more developing countries. In keeping with their
reputation, the Dutch will also stress open markets and free
trade. They have called on fellow EU Member States to avoid
protectionist measures, and they were highly critical of the
proposed ""Buy American"" provisions in the U.S. Recovery and
Reinvestment Act. The Dutch have repeatedly expressed their
hope to see the economic crisis spur the U.S., China, India,
and others to make the concessions necessary to conclude the
WTO Doha Round
15. (SBU) Prime Minister Balkenende and his cabinet enjoyed
widespread public support in late 2008 for their quick
intervention in the financial sector. However, domestic and
international criticism of the GONL's cautious, incremental
approach to the crisis has gathered steam in recent weeks.
Balkenende,s cabinet continues to consult closely with
parliament, labor, and industry on the way forward. While
Finance Minister Wouter Bos, the politically savvy Deputy
QFinance Minister Wouter Bos, the politically savvy Deputy
Prime Minister and leader of the Labor Party (PvdA), has
taken the lead on the Netherlands, international response to
the economic crisis, Foreign Minister Verhagen has been less
visible on this issue.
-----------
Middle East
-----------
16. (SBU) Verhagen will welcome your readout on the Middle
East; he is eager to play a constructive role. With an eye
toward supporting a peace agreement, the Dutch participate in
the Gaza maritime interdiction initiative to stop arms
smuggling and thereby address Israel,s security concerns.
Along with the Danish, the Dutch have proposed resurrecting
the EU Gaza-Egypt border monitoring mission. At the same
time, the Dutch push for greater access for humanitarian aid
in Gaza. The Dutch are substantial donors to Gaza economic
development and governance initiatives, providing 72 million
THE HAGUE 00000196 004 OF 004
euro in 2008.
17. (S) The Dutch strongly support the UN sanctions regime
against Iran and quickly follow up on efforts to curtail
proliferation activities. The Dutch reported that sanctions
are starting to work -- slowly )- although they are not
targeting the right people. Nonetheless, the Dutch believe
there is substantial interest among Iranian parliamentarians
for an exchange with U.S. counterparts. The Dutch are
willing to deepen our U.S.-Netherlands cooperation on
information-sharing on Iran. On Syria, the Dutch welcome
U.S. outreach to Syria and agree that the U.S. and the EU
will get more from the Syrians if we keep a united front as
we push for a peace agreement with Israel, a secure and
stable relationship with Lebanon, and an end to support for
militants.
GALLAGHER