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Viewing cable 04THEHAGUE1833, DUTCH PM BALKENENDE ON CHINA, TURKEY, AND THE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
04THEHAGUE1833 2004-07-20 17:05 2011-01-25 19:07 SECRET Embassy The Hague
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001833 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/20/2014 
TAGS: PREL CH TK IS NL
SUBJECT: DUTCH PM BALKENENDE ON CHINA, TURKEY, AND THE 
MIDDLE EAST 
 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR CLIFFORD SOBEL for Reasons 1/4 (B...


18933

2004-07-20

04THEHAGUE1833

Embassy The Hague

SECRET



S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001833 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/20/2014 
TAGS: PREL CH TK IS NL
SUBJECT: DUTCH PM BALKENENDE ON CHINA, TURKEY, AND THE 
MIDDLE EAST 


Classified By: AMBASSADOR CLIFFORD SOBEL for Reasons 1/4 (B) and (D). 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Prime Minister Balkenende told Ambassador 
Sobel on July 20 the EU has not yet reached consensus on 
lifting the China Arms Embargo before the December EU-China 
summit. While strong voices in the EU are pushing for a 
quick (but not unconditional) lift, others now appear less 
convinced and a final decision has not yet been made. On 
Turkey, Balkenende reiterated that a deal is a deal and the 
EU's decision will depend on the European Commission's 
October report, the drafting of which the Dutch are following 
closely. Ambassador Sobel urged the EU to maintain pressure 
on Arafat and the Palestinians to make needed reforms, and 
noted that the Forum for the Future proposed at the G-8 
summit provided a good venue for EU-U.S. cooperation on the 
region. Ambassador Sobel also raised Sudan briefly and noted 
standing requests for additional security for the Embassy. 
END SUMMARY. 

2. (C) Ambassador Sobel met with Dutch Prime Minister Jan 
Pieter Balkenende on July 20 to discuss the Dutch EU 
Presidency and related issues prior to the Dutch cabinet 
going on vacation. Balkenende noted that he would be taking 
the traditional long Dutch vacation in August, but would 
remain in the Netherlands in case Presidency business 
required his involvement. During the nearly one-hour 
discussion, Balkenende and the Ambassador discussed the China 
Arms Embargo, Turkish accession to the EU, and the Middle 
East. Balkenende was accompanied by his chief foreign policy 
advisor, Rob Swartbol; POLCOUNS (notetaker) accompanied 
Ambassador Sobel. 

CHINA ARMS EMBARGO: MORE THAN ONE OPTION? 
------------------------------------------ 

3. (C) Ambassador Sobel stressed that the China Arms Embargo 
was quickly rising to the top of the U.S.-EU agenda. Chinese 
backsliding on human rights over the past two years was 
deeply troubling, as was the continued Chinese threat to 
regional stability. Lifting the arms embargo before seeing 
real progress in these areas, he stressed, ran counter to the 
Dutch step by step approach, would be counterproductive in 
terms of influencing Chinese behavior. The Chinese were 
still refusing to allow the UN's special rapporteur on 
torture, van Boven, to visit despite having earlier agreed to 
do so, he noted. (Balkenende suggested that the Chinese 
might have problems with van Boven himself, rather than with 
his office, noting that the Spanish had also had problems 
with van Boven.) The Code of Conduct, he added, was not an 
adequate substitute for the embargo, and we strongly doubted 
the EU's ability to put stronger mechanisms in place. The 
U.S. was looking to the Dutch, as EU president, to make sure 
that the U.S. was not surprised by developments in this 
area. 

4. (S) In response, Balkenende said that the China Arms 
Embargo was a sensitive and evolving issue within the EU. At 
one point, there seemed to be a strong consensus for a quick 
lift, he said, but now other tendencies could be emerging. 
Even Chirac, Balkenende added, now was less adamant about 
lifting the embargo than in the past. (Balkenende noted that 
Chirac had earlier tried at the last minute to insert 
language on lifting the embargo into a Council statement, but 
had backed down when challenged.) He stressed that all 
views would be taken into account before making a decision, 
and denied that the EU was prepared to lift the embargo 
without any conditions. China would have to take some 
steps (NFI) to merit a decision to lift, he stated. That 
said, the desire to strengthen EU-China ties in the near term 
was very strong within the EU. The arms embargo was one 
instrument the EU could use to influence the relationship, 
but not the only one. 

5. (C) Ambassador Sobel reiterated the need for transparency 
and good communication as the issue developed. The Irish, he 
pointed out, had not worked actively as president to develop 
a consensus position, and the issue had naturally moved to 
the next presidency without a resolution. Swartbol 
intervened to note that while various tendencies did exist 
within the EU, the strongest tendency at this point was to 
lift the embargo, possibly as early as the fall. 

TURKEY: ONCE AGAIN, YES......BUT 
-------------------------------- 

6. (C) Turning to Turkey, Ambassador Sobel took note of 
Balkenende's recent positive public statements and asked 
where the issue currently stood. Balkendende observed that 
the exact wording of the European Commission's October report 
would be critical. The report, he predicted, would probably 
state neither that Turkey had met all the Copenhagen criteria 
fully, nor that it had failed to meet them; most likely, the 
report would be positive but identify work remaining to be 
done. In that case, he continued, the two realistic options 
for the EU were either: A) to set a date for accession 
negotiations, but make it conditional on achieving progress 
in remaining areas, or B) to ask Turkey to take certain 
specific steps with the clear understanding that a date would 
be set as soon as they are accomplished. 

7 (C) Balkenende reiterated that the EU must not rewrite the 
rules to help or hinder Turkey's bid for accession -- a deal 
is a deal. Talk of offering the Turks a privileged 
partnership or other substitute (as the French and others, 
including Christian Democrats in the European Parliament, had 
hinted), he stressed, would not be acceptable. At the same 
time, Balkenende made clear that negotiations on accession 
would probably last for at several years, and that the Turks, 
in his view, understood this as well. The Turks' interests 
would be taken into account in the EU's decision, he said, 
but the decision must also be sustainable domestically 
throughout the EU. A big part of the EU's public relations 
work, therefore, would be to convince skeptical national 
parliaments and populations that agreeing to begin 
negotiations would not lead to a flood of Turkish immigrants 
or other undesirable outcomes. Balkenende predicted that 
Chirac would ultimately side with Germany despite domestic 
French opposition in order to preserve his relationship with 
Schroeder. 

8. (S) Balkenende made clear that U.S. sensitivities would be 
taken into account as the EU made its decision, and that the 
USG position was well known. He urged the USG, however, not 
to give opponents to Turkish accession more fuel by making 
public statements that appeared provocative in the European 
context; for domestic reasons, Chirac and other European 
leaders would feel compelled to respond to US statements on 
the issue. Ambassador Sobel stressed that the USG would be 
following the issue closely and urged that we be kept 
informed. Swartbol noted that the Commission had just 
started the process of drafting its report. He strongly 
suggested that the Dutch (and he personally) would be able to 
follow and perhaps influence the drafting process, albeit 
behind the scenes. 

MIDDLE EAST: KEEPING EU PRESSURE ON ARAFAT; 
FORUM FOR THE FUTURE 
--------------------------------------------- - 

9. (C) Ambassador Sobel stressed that developments in the 
Middle East made it imperative to keep pressure on Yasser 
Arafat to reform. The situation is developing quickly, and 
the EU's special relationship with the Palestinians could a 
useful force for bringing about needed changes. On the 
Broader Middle East/North Africa initiative, Ambassador Sobel 
highlighted the Forum for the Future announced at the G-8 
Sea Island summit. 

SUDAN AND SECURITY 
------------------ 

10. (C) In closing, Ambassador briefly raised the crisis in 
Sudan and urged the EU to free up funding quickly to support 
the AU peacekeeping force. He also noted that the Embassy 
had requested additional security measures two years ago 
which it had not yet received. Balkenende promised to bring 
up the matter personally with the minister of interior. 
RUSSEL