Posts Tagged ‘The Netherlands’

Many thanks to Cornelia Nauta for sharing this!

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Secretary Clinton to Travel to Germany, Lithuania, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 5, 2011


On December 4-8, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Germany, Lithuania, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. In Bonn, Germany, Secretary Clinton will lead the United States’ high-level, interagency delegation to the International Conference for Afghanistan on December 5. The Bonn Conference, the first of its kind to be chaired solely by the Afghan government, will be an opportunity to review progress achieved since 2001 and highlight the strong international support for Afghanistan through transition and beyond. In Bonn, the government of Afghanistan and the international community will engage in mutual commitments to secure the gains already achieved and pave the way for an increasingly self-sustainable Afghanistan.

The Secretary will then travel December 6 to Vilnius, Lithuania, where she will participate in the OSCE ministerial, as well as meet with Lithuanian officials and with Belarusian and a wide range of other civil society representatives from across the OSCE region.

On December 6, the Secretary will visit Geneva, Switzerland to deliver remarks commemorating International Human Rights Day, which falls later that week. On December 7 in Geneva, she will speak at the ministerial event commemorating the 60th and 50th anniversaries of the Refugee and Statelessness conventions. The Secretary will also deliver the U.S. national statement at the Biological and Toxin Weapons (BWC) Review Conference, where we hope to revitalize international efforts against biological threats.

Later that day, the Secretary will travel to Brussels, Belgium, for ministerial-level meetings of the North Atlantic Council, the NATO-Russia Council, and with ISAF partners to discuss Afghanistan on December 7-8.

The Secretary will conclude her trip with a December 8 visit to The Hague, the Netherlands, where she will deliver the keynote address at the opening of a ministerial conference on Internet freedom that will launch a cross-regional, multi-stakeholder coalition committed to promoting the freedoms of expression, association, and assembly online.

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Remarks With Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
April 21, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good morning, and I want to welcome Foreign Minister Rosenthal to the State Department. It is certainly the case that the Netherlands has been and is a valued ally and trusted friend to the United States. We talked about our 400 years of history together, and our nations are part of a transatlantic community that is united by shared values and a firm commitment to work together for peace, progress and prosperity. We discussed a wide range of issues from the crisis in Libya to our shared mission in Afghanistan to our global efforts to support sustainable development and empower women and girls.

First on Libya, we agreed that carrying out the mandate of the United Nations Security Council to protect Libyan civilians remains critically important under Resolution 1973. Colonel Qadhafi’s troops continue their vicious attacks, including the siege of Misrata. There are even reports that Qadhafi forces may have used cluster bombs against their own people. In the face of this inhumanity, the international community remains united in our resolve. We deeply regret the loss of all life, and we are particularly saddened today by the loss of two journalists, and we extend our condolences to their families.

We also call for the immediate release of Americans who are being unjustly detained by Libyan authorities, including at least two reporters. I say “at least” because we do not have any accurate information coming from Libyan authorities about other inquiries that we have made regarding their continuing harassment and detention of journalists including Americans.

I also expressed appreciation for Dutch contributions to the NATO-led no-fly zone and to the international Contact Group that met most recently in Doha and will meet again soon in Rome. We agreed that Qadhafi must step aside and a democratic transition must begin that reflects the will and aspirations of all Libyans.

I want to thank the government and people of the Netherlands for their commitment to our mission in Afghanistan. Our troops, diplomats, and development experts continue to work side by side and stand with the Afghan people. I greatly appreciate the commitment of a new police training mission to deploy this summer to bolster the Afghan Government’s ability to provide security. We are committed to the NATO transition as agreed at the Lisbon Summit to be completed in 2014, and we have a lot of work ahead of us to help facilitate greater security, political reconciliation, and a clear unambiguous stand against al-Qaida and other extremists.

Now, we also are discussing the great commitment to sustainable global development that the Netherlands has demonstrated over so many years. And there’s a new challenge. Nearly two million people, mostly women and children, die each year from breathing the toxic smoke from dirty stoves and open fires that are used overwhelmingly for the cooking of the daily meals. This is more than twice the number of people who die from malaria. So it’s a very serious health hazard. It’s also an environmental hazard. It contributes to black carbon which contributes to global warming. And the United States has joined the United Nations Foundation and a wide range of partners to form the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves with the goal of 100 million homes adopting clean stoves and fuels by 2020. The Government of Netherlands, the Shell Foundation, SNV, Philips have long been leaders in this effort, and we greatly appreciate the historic generosity of the Dutch people.

In that same spirit, I’m pleased to announce that the United States and the Netherlands have agreed to deepen our cooperation aimed at empowering women and girls around the world, especially in emerging democracies. Both our nations recognize that when women and girls are accorded their rights and afforded opportunities, they drive political, economic, and social progress. And we’re so pleased to be working with the Netherlands to create greater political and economic opportunities for women, particularly in the democratic transitions underway in the Middle East and North Africa.

Minister, we have so much that we work on together. We have so much in common. Our histories and our cultures are entwined. We are your friend, we are your partner, and I appreciate your efforts.

FOREIGN MINISTER ROSENTHAL: Thank you. Thank you, Madam Secretary, for your kind words and for receiving me today here in Washington. We have met before, but not yet here. And I also believe we had a very productive discussion today. Indeed, we share our history for centuries, 400 years, and we share also strong economic ties. Over 700,000 American jobs are the result of our Dutch investment and trade relationship. We share important values – freedom, tolerance, democracy, human rights, protection of religious minorities throughout the world. And we are working closely with the U.S. at promoting these values in the Arab region and also elsewhere in the world.

Madam Secretary, let me, talking about the Arab region and Libya, first offer my condolences to the families and friends of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros. They were two formidable journalists, who gave their lives doing their jobs. It’s just part of the human tragedy, humanitarian tragedy in Libya, a tragedy which is simply unacceptable. And that is why we are an active partner in the NATO campaign Unified Protector and why we also provide humanitarian aid whenever we can. And we are, with you, particularly concerned at the moment about the situation in Misrata.

We condemn, on our part, Colonel Qadhafi’s actions in the strongest of terms. Colonel Qadhafi and his regime have indeed lost all legitimacy, and he must step down, the sooner the better. We rigorously enforce the sanctions against him and his cronies, and we strongly support the aspirations of the Libyan people to reform democracy and, last but not least, rule of law.

We also discussed today the situation in Syria, and together with the U.S., we strongly condemn the violence of the regime against its own population. We believe that this was put urgently on the agenda of the Human Rights Council. And for the Dutch Government, it’s unthinkable that Syria would become part of that same Human Rights Council.

With you, Madam Secretary, we agree on the important role of women in societies in transition, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. Our joint statement today will lead to complete joint actions for women in the region.

And then there is Afghanistan. The Netherlands has been actively engaged in Afghanistan since 2002. Today, we are investing in the training of the police force in Kunduz Province in the north of the country. I believe it’s crucial because it helps Afghan people to take responsibility for their own security and to strengthen the rule of law also in that country. And we definitely need to work on reconciliation, accepting the red lines, but with the Afghans themselves taking the lead.

Finally, Madam Secretary, we indeed discussed your initiative for clean cookstoves. I’m encouraged to see that an alliance of public and private players is taking this issue very seriously, including, as you said already, some important Dutch companies like Philips and Shell International. And we do embrace this initiative.

Madam Secretary, to conclude, it was a great pleasure to discuss these important issues with you today here at the State Department. I thank you for that.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Uri.

MR. TONER: And the first question goes to Jill Dougherty from CNN. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Surprise. (Laughter.) As – Secretary Clinton, thank you. Libya, again, here we are. The word really on everybody’s lips right now is “stalemate.” Where is this going? You have the casualties that you referred to, the journalists, certainly many more Libyans. The foreign minister was talking about an unacceptable situation right now. Some of the experts who look at this – and when they look at Misrata, they say the problem really now is that in places like that, it’s a ground game; you can’t use air power to do it as it was in the beginning of the operation. So what can the U.S., what can the allies together, do to really turn this around? Because some people are saying this could go on for a year.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, first, I think it is always a temptation in any conflict to expect there to be a resolution quickly. I am not a military historian or an expert by any means, but the fact is that we’ve been at this a relatively short period of time. I know in our extraordinarily fast-paced world of information overload, every minute seems to be expanded to an extent unknown in the past because there’s so much going on and we’re all trying to keep up with it all.

I would remind you that the United States and other partners bombed targets in Serbia for 78 days. And it looked at the end of that as though there had been a success in terms of protecting the Kosovars, but that Milosevic remained in power. But there had been a dynamic put into motion that eventually led to his being in The Hague.

I have publicly and privately counseled some degree of patience, as difficult as that may be to do in today’s world. We have adopted a mission that the United States, as you know, fully supports, to carry out an arms embargo, to run a no-fly zone, and to protect civilians. We have done all of that, and we have destroyed a significant percentage of Qadhafi’s air defense system and other assets that he had been using, from tanks to his warehouses of materiel, to terrorize his own people. The opposition that rose up spontaneously was not a trained militia. It wasn’t a military force. By our best assessment, the vast majority of the young men who are using weapons against the Qadhafi troops and mercenaries had never participated in any such activity before.

You’re right; Misrata is a very brutal, urban battle that is going on right now, where the Qadhafi regime is engaging in activities that are deplorable and which target directly civilians – men, women, adults, children – causing an enormous amount of death and suffering. But the opposition fighters are holding their own against that onslaught, and in large measure because we’ve taken Qadhafi’s planes out of the air, we target every large vehicle that we think is theirs to be used against the opposition and civilians who are trying to stand against him.

So I think that it’s too soon to tell what’s going to happen, and one of the reasons why I announced $25 million in nonlethal aid yesterday, why many of our partners both in NATO and in the broader Contact Group are providing assistance to the opposition – is to enable them to defend themselves and to repulse the attacks by Qadhafi forces.

So I know it’s not a particularly satisfying answer, and I am not in a position at least now to be a pundit who can make all kinds of conclusory statements. I look at what we see happening. And the work that the United Nations authorized and that the UN and the Security Council stood behind and that NATO and other partners are executing is exactly what we said we would do. And we’re going to stay with it and see how the opposition is able to take advantage of the opportunities that they’re being provided.

MODERATOR: From the Dutch side, Erik Mouthaan from RTL News.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, you say stay with it, but we see other countries, of course, sending in military observers. Is this something you will say will never happen on the U.S. side? And when you’re talking to partners like the Netherlands, I know you’re constantly saying Europe should step up and do more. Now the Dutch are flying over Libya, but they’re not bombarding and they say, “We won’t fire.” So did you discuss options today for further involvement of the Dutch and other European countries?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, as to your characterization of the United States’ role, we’ve been very clear about what we would do, and we have done it. We’re still flying about 25 percent of the sorties. We’re doing practically all of the support work for the no-fly zone for the fighters engaged in the ground attack. We do the refueling. We do the intelligence surveillance, reconnaissance. So we believe we’re providing the capabilities that we are uniquely positioned to do so. We’re also very active in supporting the arms embargo, the sanctions, which we discussed at length and the minister had some excellent ideas about what more needs to be done to tighten those sanctions. We have a lot of confidence in NATO and our partners. We know their capacity. We train with them, we work with them. We believe that what needs to be done under Resolution 1973 — can be done. And obviously, the more people, the more countries doing it the better, but we’re very satisfied with the activities and performance of our allies and others who are participating in this effort.

Did you want to add anything, Uri?

FOREIGN MINISTER ROSENTHAL: Well, let me add something to this. Madam Secretary, let me first say that I strongly endorse your statement on the situation as such with regard to the NATO mission. Last week in Berlin, we talked resolve, and we talked patience, and that’s what this is all about. And when we talk about the measures and the policies to be pursued with regard to Libya and the Qadhafi regime, I, indeed, use always the three channels. I proceed along the three channels – the military mission, political process – Doha, Rome, on the 5th of May – and certainly indeed sanctions and implementing the sanctions and utilizing to the utmost the possibilities and the opportunities which the sanction package actually lends is of the greatest importance. And I would say that when we do implement these sanctions to the utmost we would, indeed, be able to squeeze this regime. So not only military activities, not only the political process, but I think as a separate third-line sanctions, implementing them to them utmost. I can’t repeat it – I always repeat this and always set it apart because we often forget about it.

Now, and then with regard to the question from the Dutch journalist, the Dutch Government is taking its fair share, I would say, in the NATO mission. We do our utmost to reach out on the humanitarian side also through the EU. And it’s also of importance, of course, to get connected by now to the people in Benghazi. The Dutch Government does not follow the French and Italians on the path to recognition of the Transition Council. We don’t think that’s the right way to go. But we do try to connect with people in the Transitional Council and in Benghazi in order to help out wherever we can.

But finally, when we talk about a historic resolution, 1973, which was passed by the Security Council a number of weeks ago, we think that we have to stick to that resolution and that when we talk about regime change and the urgent need for Qadhafi to step down, to get away, then we talk here about conclusions which have already been determined by the European Council as well as by several countries, as well as by the Doha Contact Group. So there we have the package we should follow, and that’s the position the Dutch Government takes at the moment.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all, very much.

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After weeks in Africa, and additional weeks on vacation (during which there was a dearth of available photos), Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State and former U.S. Senator from New York, returned to the Big Apple this morning, and it was a joy to see!

She began her day at the Intrepid Air, Sea, and Space Museum to help kick off a week of celebration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s arrival in New York Harbor. A replica of Hudson’s ship, The Half Moon was part of the show of Dutch ships in the harbor. Mayor Mike Bloomberg was Hillary’s co-host to Princess Maxima and Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.

Remarks At Launching of NY400 Week Marking the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson’s Arrival in New York Harbor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, New York, NY, September 8, 2009

(In progress) recognizes the importance of this particular commemoration by not only your presence here, but your interest in these year-long activities. Before we came out, the Mayor and the Prince of Orange and Princess Maxima and Minister (inaudible) and I were all talking, and the mayor made one of his astute observations that if the Dutch paid $24 for New York, that $24 invested 400 years ago could be more valuable than all the real estate in New York. Now I’m glad that they did invest. I’m glad that they took that risk, and I’m very honored to be here to be part of this ceremony.

We just saw the Half Moon sail by. And I think it’s important to just pause for a minute and remember that that is an exact replica of the Half Moon that crossed the Atlantic that discovered New Amsterdam that went up the Hudson, and then returned with 18 sailors onboard. On the return, there were somewhat fewer. But nevertheless, it is a reminder and a visual symbol of the extraordinary courage that it took 400 years ago to cross that large ocean.

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From there, she made her way to Manhattan Charter School where she watched President Obama’s speech with the students and spoke to them as well. It looks like she had a wonderful time with the children.

Secretary Clinton Hosts “My Education, My Future” Event at the Manhattan Charter School, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State as President Obama Delivers National Address to Students on Educational Success, New York, NY, September 8, 2009


STUDENTS: Good morning.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am so happy to be here today. And I thank your principal for that wonderful introduction. And I’m so pleased that I had a chance to be here with you on the first day of school for the Manhattan Charter School. I know tomorrow all the students from PS142 will be here, and this building will just be filled with boys and girls who are ready to learn a lot.

And it is exciting for me to have this chance to come here today to talk with you and answer your questions. Now when I walked in, one of the boys here said, “I have a question for you.” So I hope a lot of you have questions for me because – oh, I see the papers (inaudible). I want to talk with you about what is on your mind.

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(LOL! I see papers!)

Later she returned to Washington D.C. and the hard work of statesmanship. But it was a wonderful morning for New York. Tall ships in the harbor and Hillary Clinton. Sounds like a party to me!

Some pictures of this fun morning.

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Remarks With Latvian Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins Before Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
July 14, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello. I’m very pleased to welcome the foreign minister from Latvia. I’m very grateful for the extraordinary support and assistance that Latvia has provided on many issues that are of importance to us mutually, and I’m delighted to receive him for the purpose of going in depth into a range of issues that are concerns to us. We are partners in NATO; we are partners in so many of the security issues. We know that Latvia is facing a very challenging economic time and we look forward to discussing ways that we can work more closely together.
FOREIGN MINISTER REIKSTINS: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary. It’s good to be back here in Washington. Thank you for inviting me for these political consultations. I think it would be fair to say that our bilateral relations have enjoyed an excellent atmosphere since August ’91, when we regained independence. And definitely, we are willing to continue this cooperation in the same spirit.
As we speak, today, our soldiers are working very hard, shoulder to shoulder, in Afghanistan and other international peacekeeping operations and missions, and we are committed to be a good ally, together working within the NATO alliance and other international organizations, and I’m looking forward to our discussions today.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, sir.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.

Remarks With Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen Before Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
July 14, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. Today, I am privileged once again to host the foreign minister of the Netherlands. We had an excellent meeting with the prime minister and the President in the Oval Office today. The Dutch and the Dutch Government are among our greatest friends and allies on so many important matters. And we had a very broad-ranging discussion on a number of critical issues this morning, which we will get into even more depth on again this afternoon. So I welcome Maxime back to the State Department.

FOREIGN MINISTER VERHAGEN: Thank you very much indeed, Hillary. I would like to thank Madame Secretary for her warm hospitality. Indeed, we had very good discussions this morning, the President and my prime minister. And we will continue to discuss on these issues.

We share a lot of values and we have a lot in common, a common history for 400 years, as the first Dutchman landed on the shores of Manhattan. And we’ve also seen this morning, in the discussions between the prime minister and the President, that on issues like the Middle East, like Afghanistan, we have a lot to do in common. We share the same challenges, but we have also the same ideas on how to deal with these issues.

So I look forward to the second meeting with you and to continue the discussions we had this morning.



SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.


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Remarks with Cyprus Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou Before Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
April 20, 2009

Date: 04/20/2009 Description: Remarks by Secretary Clinton and Cyprus Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou before their meeting. State Dept Photo SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am very happy to welcome the minister here today. He and I had a chance to meet during the EU-U.S. summit in Prague. And we obviously have a lot to discuss and a number of matters of interest, but we’re pleased to have such an opportunity so early in our Administration.
FOREIGN MINISTER KYPRIANOU: Thank you very much, and I’d like to – I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to meet twice with you within a fortnight, and I would say moving into a phase of even closer and better cooperation between our countries.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you, sir. Thank you all very much.

Remarks With Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
April 20, 2009

Date: 04/20/2009 Description: Remarks by Secretary Clinton and Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen after their meeting. State Dept Photo SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning, everyone. I cannot tell you how happy I am to welcome a colleague and a new friend to the State Department. It is always wonderful working with our Dutch allies on a range of issues. And as many of you know, the foreign minister scheduled and pulled off the meeting we had in The Hague about Afghanistan in just a record period of time. Minister Verhagen is someone who takes so seriously the range of issues that not only concern our two countries, but indeed our concerns about the world.
We have just discussed a wide range of issues and set up a process that will continue going forward so that we can get in depth on a number of important matters. I told the minister that unfortunately, I have to leave to attend to my first Cabinet meeting, which was scheduled long after we had set this time aside for our meeting. But we were able to touch on everything from piracy to the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and last but not least, the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage to the New World, which has particular interest to me as a New Yorker.
I want to just quickly mention a few of the matters that we discussed. Obviously, piracy is a concern to both our countries and indeed to the world. And I want to thank the Netherlands for the work they have done to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia, including their recent successful mission over the weekend to free 20 Yemenis, whose fishing vessel was hijacked by the pirates. Dutch ships and aircraft have been instrumental in the interdiction of pirates and the prevention of capture for ransom of several ships.
We look forward to continued cooperation. And we’re going to work together to seek more effective ways to hold these pirate criminals accountable for their actions, which threaten not only the lives of merchant seamen and the vessels on which they sail, but the security of critical maritime routes.
To this end, we will work on clarifying the legal authorities that exist. There will be, at our request, a meeting of the international piracy contact group in New York City in early May, in addition to the meeting that will be held shortly in Brussels. We’re going to have to determine the best way to bring pirates to justice after they’re captured. And there will have to be additional discussion about this at NATO as well.
I appreciate very much the foreign minister’s extraordinary work in highlighting the necessity for us to be effective in our efforts in Afghanistan that came out of the conference in The Hague. You know, the Dutch contributions in Uruzgan province have been instrumental and a real model in showing how we can bring stability and security to the people of Afghanistan. Dutch soldiers and civilians have done excellent work. In fact, the Dutch “3D” approach – defense, diplomacy, and development – pursued simultaneously, which may sound familiar to some of us, is a model for our own efforts and the future efforts in Afghanistan. There’s a lot of work for us to do there, and the minister will be meeting with Ambassador Holbrooke as well to go into greater depth.
I also want to thank the Dutch Government for their leadership in the G-20 process. The successful London Summit was enhanced by the prime minister and the foreign minister’s strong support for open markets and opposition to protectionism. We know that the Dutch economy has been hard hit by this global downturn. With the world’s seventh largest international financial sector, the Netherlands is a major participant in the global economy. And we continue to seek the Dutch perspective on how to set the economy back on the right track, and welcome your advice on how to proceed.
And finally, let me acknowledge the foreign minister’s leadership with regard to the situation in the Middle East. He has demonstrated steadfast support for a lasting and comprehensive peace, and has long maintained that in order to be accepted by the international community as a true partner in peace, Hamas must take responsibility for its actions, renounce violence, and accept Israel’s right to exist. This is a point on which we are in total agreement and on which we cannot waiver. The United States is grateful for the Dutch Government’s leadership within the European Union on establishing a robust dialogue with the Israeli Government, while insisting that the parties and the process and the region rededicate themselves to prior commitments.
The historic relationship between the United States and the Netherlands is going to be especially celebrated this year because of the 400th anniversary of the legendary voyage of Henry Hudson. He set sail from Amsterdam and landed five months later in New Amsterdam. The people in both cities have begun their celebrations. It’s not only about the past, however, but it is about the future.
To further that partnership and in honor of this Quadricentennial, the Dutch Government has announced a new Fulbright scholarship for research into the historic relationship between Holland and the United States. Our two governments will fund this research jointly. We are confident that the discoveries it will yield will point the way forward toward future collaborations.
The foreign minister just presented to our government a really stunning display of the original documents as to the purchase of New Amsterdam. And it certainly taught me something, because I didn’t know exactly what was involved, but a lot of skins were involved. (Laughter.) And I think if one were to take the value of those skins and forward them into the present and look at the present value, it wouldn’t necessarily cover all of the costs, but it would come closer than what I’d heard before. And I was very proud to give to the foreign minister a copy of the letter George Washington personally wrote appointing John Quincy Adams as the first ambassador to the United Netherlands. So our friendship goes back many hundreds of years. And we welcome you here today, Mr. Minister.
FOREIGN MINISTER VERHAGEN: Thank you, Madame Secretary. Ladies and gentlemen, indeed, the United States and The Netherlands stands united by value, such as open-mindedness, freedom, tolerance, and democracy. And we started sharing these values, indeed, 400 years ago when the first Dutch American pioneers settled New Amsterdam. And as Secretary Clinton has said, I have presented to her a replica of the oldest letter in Dutch proscribing the islands of Manhattan and the first map by a Dutch conqueror of what later became New York. And now 400 years later based on these values, the United States and The Netherlands and other European countries will, according to my view, remain the driving force for a safer and better world. And Secretary Clinton and I addressed a number of issues around the world where the United States and the European Union and The Netherlands are working together.
Afghanistan, as the Secretary has said, the Netherlands, and the United States are brothers in arms in the most troubled provinces. And we welcome the renewed emphasis on diplomacy and development alongside defense because according to our view, this is the best way further reduce the threat of extremists who once found a free haven in Afghanistan and who planned attacks on peaceful citizens all over the world. And the U.S. and the Netherlands share the opinion that the Afghan authorities should be stimulated to gradually take over – to gradually take on more responsibility for security. Afghanization is the way ahead. And in this respect, training of the Afghan army and Afghan police is of great significance.
We warmly welcome the outstretched hand of the United States towards other countries, towards, for example, also Iran and we hope the Iranian authorities realize the significance of this gesture. Iran has much to gain, but time is essential. No reaction to the outstretched hands would be an answer in itself.
The Netherlands and the United States are also participating in, for example, NATO force protecting ships and humanitarian aid shipments in the Indian Ocean. And as the Secretary said, we discussed also the problems of piracy and how to deal with pirates who are arrested, thanks to activities of our vessels. And we agree that pirates need to be held responsible for their deeds within the framework of international law. And the U.S. and the Netherlands will send a clear message that piracy is unacceptable, and that pirates will be held accountable. In the European Union mission, Atlanta has this possibility. So we now need to look to other partners like NATO to make sure also in other situations, this possibility can be used as well. And Secretary Clinton has already explained that we also can discuss this within the framework of NATO, because it is essential that those who are guilty of piracy will be also prosecuted and not set free.
Finally, we discussed human rights, because respect of human rights is increasingly under pressure. They are central in the Dutch foreign policy. And we are very pleased by the renewed U.S. engagement in human rights, and we look forward to promoting human rights worldwide in a strong partnership with the United States. As the host country of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, we appreciate also the more positive approach of the United States to the Court, especially with regard to Darfur. And we hope, of course, to see that the United States will work more closely together with this court in the near future. Thank you very much indeed.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, sir.
MR. WOOD: We have time for just two questions. The first one will be from Arshad Mohammed with Reuters.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, over the weekend, Iranian President Ahmadinejad spoke of the importance of Ms. Saberi getting full access to the legal process. His comments were echoed this morning by a senior Iranian judicial official who again talked about a just, speedy appeal for her. Do you sense in this any inkling that the Iranian authorities may be looking for a way to either reduce her sentence or perhaps free her entirely?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Arshad, we believe she should be freed immediately, that the charges against her are baseless, and that she has been subjected to a process that has been nontransparent, unpredictable, arbitrary, and we hope that actions will be taken as soon as possible by the authorities in Iran, including the judiciary, to bring about the speedy release of Ms. Saberi and her return home.
So we obviously are closely monitoring the situation and working with the Swiss, who are our protectorate representative in the country, and hoping that these remarks lead to actions.
MR. WOOD: The second question will be from Dutch public television (inaudible).
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, the last couple of days, two NATO member-states apprehended pirates but then had to let them go. Doesn’t that send the wrong signal to these pirates? And in what respect do you think the Netherlands can play a role in finding a solution?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we do. Both the minister and I discussed that it sends the wrong signal. And there is a need to coordinate better the reactions of all of the nations and organizations involved in policing the coastline off of Somalia. The minister and I agreed that we will take this matter to NATO. If the Dutch navy had been operating under the EU, they could have turned over the pirates for trial. NATO has not provided that authority. So we need to coordinate this, we need to move very quickly to do so, and we’re going to work together in a leadership role to try to get this resolved. And I’m sure the minister would want to add something to that.
FOREIGN MINISTER VERHAGEN: No, it’s obvious that the problem of piracy will not be solved if we don’t take care also of the prosecution matter. And as a matter of fact, a few months ago, we actually got six pirates handed over from a Danish ship who arrested them when they were attacking a ship under the Dutch flag or (inaudible) flag. So therefore, we could prosecute them because they were attacking a Dutch vessel, and on the same time, it was within the framework of the European Union mission.
So it’s indeed rather cynical that when military action towards those pirates is within the framework of the NATO mission, we couldn’t deal with this in this framework. And that’s exactly the reason why we discussed and we decided also to discuss this together within the framework of NATO.
MR. WOOD: Thank you all very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much. Thank you.

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