The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Uri Rosenthal, and the Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, Maxime Verhagen, will visit the Middle East from Tuesday 5 June to Thursday 7 June. Both ministers will visit Israel, while Mr Rosenthal will also visit Jordan and the Palestinian Territories.
Though negotiations are proving difficult, the government is cautiously optimistic about the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Delegation leader Ben Knapen, Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation, presented the aims of the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the Rio aan de Maas event in Rotterdam today.
Afghanistan needs economic growth and good governance just as much as security. The Netherlands has stressed this point at the NATO Summit in Chicago, prime minister Mark Rutte has told journalists.
NATO has pledged to focus more on digital threats in future. This has been affirmed in the Posture Review, which is one of the items on the agenda of the NATO summit in Chicago. The allies have been discussing whether the current mix of weapons is still optimal and able to withstand new threats. These decisions are very much in line with the Netherlands’ ambitions for the summit.
Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal has met with his Polish colleague Radosław Sikorski in Warsaw, and the two ministers have confirmed the excellent state of Polish-Dutch relations.
The work of human rights defender Justine Masika Bihamba and her organisation is vital to women and their families in the province of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Ben Knapen announced the Netherlands’ continuing support for her work after meeting with her on Wednesday. The Netherlands awarded the Human Rights Tulip to Ms Masika Bihamba in 2008.
Eleven Somalis suspected of piracy being held on board HNLMS Van Amstel have been handed over to Seychelles. Last Friday the crew of the naval frigate boarded a suspicious dhow (Arab sailing vessel) that was towing two skiffs off the coast of Somalia. The 17 captured crew members have been freed, and the 11 Somalis, along with a cache of confiscated weapons, were taken aboard the Van Amstel.
Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal has called on China’s vice foreign minister, Zhang Zhijun, [gov.cn sites] to continue China’s constructive role on the world stage. The two ministers were speaking in the margins of a visit by Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, [gov.cn sites] to celebrate the 40 anniversary of diplomatic relations at embassy level between the Netherlands and China.