Foreign minister Frans Timmermans and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov have met in Moscow to discuss the Russian-Dutch Bilateral Year 2013. President Putin will come to the Netherlands on 8 April for the opening ceremony. Russia plans on this occasion to formalise several agreements on cooperation with the Netherlands.
The Netherlands supports human rights defenders and organisations in their efforts to secure respect for human rights. In his address to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva, foreign minister Frans Timmermans stated that this is one of his main priorities.
Today, former Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende attended the presidential inauguration of Park Geun-hye in Seoul. Last December, Ms Park, the daughter of former President Park Chung-hee, was elected the first female president of South Korea.
The Netherlands and Indonesia are to step up cooperation on politics, economics and culture. Foreign minister Frans Timmermans made detailed agreements on this with his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa during his visit to Jakarta this week.
This year the Netherlands is giving a fresh boost to its relations with Indonesia, starting with a working visit to Jakarta today and tomorrow by foreign minister Frans Timmermans.
The Netherlands confidently chooses to occupy a central position in a democratic and prosperous Europe. This does not mean, however, that it is turning a blind eye to discontent about flaws in the European partnership. The EU can be improved. And the Netherlands, motivated by enlightened self-interest, will work hard to make this happen. The Netherlands needs the European partnership, especially given the major changes and new challenges facing the world. Only if we actively take part in the dialogue can we help determine the direction the Union will take.
‘The Netherlands values its economic relations with Poland and its cooperation with Poland in the EU. Our ties are strong, but we can do even more together.’ Foreign minister Frans Timmermans delivered this message in Warsaw today, during talks with his Polish counterpart, Radosław Sikorski.
‘Economic relations between the Netherlands and Romania are already close, but we can benefit from them even more by promoting trade and cooperating in areas such as agriculture,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans during a meeting with his Romanian counterpart Titus Corlăţean in The Hague. ‘The Netherlands and Romania could also work together more closely within the European Union, for instance on improving our relations with the EU’s eastern neighbours, such as Russia, Ukraine and Moldova.’
‘An irresponsible provocation’ was how foreign minister Frans Timmermans described North Korea’s third underground nuclear test, which was carried out today. He went on to say that it ‘undermined stability and security in the region’. The Minister expressed the belief that the regime in Pyongyang was isolating itself even further with this test, adding that it was characteristic of this regime that it was spending so much money on its nuclear programme while the North Korean people were going hungry.
Foreign minister Frans Timmermans has expressed concern at the findings of Bulgaria’s investigation into the deadly attack on a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Burgas in July 2012. Earlier today Bulgaria concluded that the military wing of Hezbollah was responsible. Mr Timmermans sees this as confirmation of the Netherlands’ position that Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation.