Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Netherlands

Newsline: Netherlands summons Russian ambassador

The Netherlands has summoned the Russian ambassador to give explanations on Moscow’s statements criticizing the recent judgment on the tragedy of flight MH17, issued by a court in The Hague that sentenced two Russian citizens to each life imprisonment for the death of the 298 people on board as a result of the downing of this plane in 2014. The Netherlands’ complaint is related to Moscow’s statement that the trial “was not impartial”, a “totally reprehensible” assessment, according to Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra, who has accused Russia of turning “the world upside down”, the daily ‘Het Parool’ reports. For Hoekstra, the Kremlin is reacting “incorrectly and indecently” to a decision of the Dutch legal system, which is “really unacceptable” if one takes into account, he emphasized, “that Russia is currently violating all the principles of international law”. Hoekstra said that it is essential to respond to these accusations coming from Russia, partly also to ‘show’ the relatives of the victims that the Netherlands stands for the division of powers. (https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/netherlands-summons-russian-ambassador-over-criticism-of-mh17-ruling/) The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Thursday regretting that this court in The Hague had “ignored” the principles of impartiality, while criticizing the alleged political motivations behind the whole judicial process.

Newsline: Netherlands tells Chinese ambassador that clandestine police offices must be closed “immediately”

Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra has told Chinese Ambassador Tan Jian that the clandestine offices that Beijing has allegedly set up on its territory to persecute political dissidents cannot be tolerated and must be shut down. These offices must be closed “immediately,” the Dutch foreign minister urged the Chinese diplomat, according to Nos, the Dutch public television channel. (https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/netherlands-tells-chinese-ambassador-that-clandestine-offices-must-be-closed-immediately/) China masks these alleged activities within what it calls “service centers”, which are active in several countries, according to information published last week by RTL Nieuws and the research platform Follow the Money. In theory, they serve to facilitate formalities for Chinese citizens living abroad, for example to renew driving licenses. However, it also performs police work and information gathering. The activity now under suspicion dates back to 2018, in the case of Amsterdam, and to this same year, in the case of Rotterdam.

Newsline: At least 20 shots fired at Saudi embassy in The Hague

Shots have been fired at the Saudi embassy on the Koninginnegracht in the centre of The Hague, according to local media reports, but police say it is too early to give more information. Reports suggest the building was hit at least 20 times and that dozens of casings litter the ground. (https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2020/11/at-least-20-shots-fired-at-saudi-embassy-in-the-hague-no-one-hurt/) Police were alerted to the shooting shortly before 6am. No-one so far has been reported hurt. Around 6 AM we received a report that multiple shots were fired at the building of the Saudi Arabia embassy on the #Koninginnegracht in #TheHague. No one was injured. We are currently conducting research. Witnesses who have information are requested to call 0900-8844. — Politie Eenheid Den Haag (@POL_DenHaag) November 12, 2020 According to local broadcaster Omroep West, bullet holes can be seen clearly in several windows. Police and forensic teams are now at the embassy and part of the street has been sealed off while the investigation gets underway.

Newsline: U.S. Ambassador To Netherlands Accused of ‘Interference’ With Dutch Elections

Pete Hoekstra, the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, has been accused of taking part in a fundraising event at The Hague for the far-right Forum voor Democratie (Forum for Democracy) earlier this month. The event at the American embassy at John Adams Park in Wassenaar on September 10 was reported by the Dutch weekly magazine De Groene Amsterdammer as featuring a guest list of around 30 to 40 “party leaders supplemented by wealthy entrepreneurs” and hosted by Hoekstra. (https://www.newsweek.com/ambassador-dutch-far-right-fundraiser-pete-hoekstra-1533482) Guests at the night for Thierry Baudet’s anti-immigration party FvD reportedly received an email stating they can join the embassy “at the invitation of Forum for Democracy and Pete Hoekstra” and any further questions can be sent to Joyce Vastenhouw, the political party’s head of fundraising.

Newsline: Wife of Dutch ambassador seriously injured in Beirut blast

he wife of the Dutch ambassador to Lebanon was seriously injured by a huge blast that took place in Beirut’s port on Tuesday, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lebanon-security-blast-netherlands/wife-of-dutch-ambassador-seriously-injured-in-beirut-blast-ministry-idUSKCN2511FJ) A spokesman said she had been admitted to hospital. He said the blast had caused extensive damage to the Dutch embassy, also wounding four other people connected to it.

Newsline: Thai embassy in the Netherlands steps in for Covid-19 patient

The Thai embassy in the Netherlands has extended help to a citizen who contracted Covid-19 after a video of her comparing the healthcare systems of both nations went viral. The woman had been vlogging about her disease condition and said she was advised to take medicine prescribed by doctors. She said in one video that Dutch officials would only take her to a hospital if she developed fatigue and shortness of breath. (https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1905345/embassy-steps-in-for-patient) The Royal Thai Embassy in The Hague said diplomats contacted the woman to offer help but said she does not need urgent help at this moment. According to the embassy, her neighbour, also a Thai national, helps the woman by preparing food every day.

Newsline: Bulgaria Recalls Embassy Official From Netherlands Over Illegally Collecting Coronavirus ‘Tax’

A senior official at the Bulgarian embassy in The Hague has been recalled for illegally collecting what he called a coronavirus tax from visitors seeking consular assistance, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said. The ministry said the head of the consular section in the Dutch city had been collecting 5 euros ($5.45) from Bulgarian visitors to the embassy as well as a 10 euro-tax from visitors from other countries.”Such behaviour is completely incompatible with the Bulgarian diplomatic service and cannot be tolerated in any way,” Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said in a statement. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-04-07/bulgaria-recalls-embassy-official-from-netherlands-over-illegally-collecting-coronavirus-tax) The ministry said disciplinary proceedings would be initiated, adding that explanations have also been sought from Bulgaria’s ambassador to Netherlands. The embassy did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Newsline: The Netherlands embassy in Iran closed due to COVID – 19

As of 18th of March, all consular appointments have been cancelled. The consular section of the Netherlands embassy is closed until to the public until further notice. (https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/latest-news/news/2020/03/16/covid-19-teheran-update) The country has been scrambling to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus which so far has infected some 14,000 people and killed 853 – 129 of whom over the past 24 hours, according to official figures. The number of coronavirus deaths and infections has been on the rise ever since the first two fatalities were announced on February 19.

Newsline: The Netherlands to get three new embassies

The Netherlands is to establish three new embassies, in Armenia, Niger and Burkina Faso, foreign minister Stef Blok has told MPs. The current diplomatic missions in Niamey and Ouagadougou will be expanded and given full embassy status as part of cabinet efforts to focus more attention on the Sahel region, Blok said. (https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2019/12/diplomatic-expansion-the-netherlands-to-get-three-new-embassies/) Both offices are currently satellites of the Dutch embassy in Mali. The new embassy in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, means there will also be Dutch representation throughout the region, the minister said. In addition, the current Dutch diplomatic missions in Abuja (Nigeria), Amman, Bagdad, Beijing, Bogota, Brussels, Caracas, Geneva, New York, Rabat, Tirana and Vilnius will be strengthened, Blok said. The government’s coalition accord included a commitment to spend €40m to strengthen the Dutch diplomatic presence abroad and reopen embassies and consulates. Some €10m has already been spent on adding 29 posts to the Dutch diplomatic mission south and east of the EU, because of the instability in these regions. In May 2017, the government advisory board for international affairs AIV said €70m to €80m a year needed to be spent to bring Dutch embassies up to scratch following years of cutbacks.

Newsline: Iran briefly detains 2 European diplomats

Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency is reporting that police in the capital, Tehran, briefly detained two European diplomats at a mixed-gender party, which are illegal under Iranian law. June 1 report said a British and a Dutch diplomat were released after being identified as foreign government workers in the early hours of May 31 morning. (https://www.foxnews.com/world/iran-briefly-detains-2-european-diplomats-at-coed-party) The report said the party was attended by several men and women, but did not elaborate or specify if alcohol was present. In Iran, it is illegal to drink alcohol or hold mixed parties of Muslim men and women who are not related. Both activities are permitted for the country’s small Christian minority.