161 Four million euros in extra emergency aid for the Sahel Four million euros in extra emergency aid for the Sahel
The Netherlands is making an extra EUR 4 million available for emergency aid to the Sahel region. This was announced on Wednesday by international cooperation minister Ben Knapen. The money will go to the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) which, as well as providing emergency food aid, is working on structural solutions to improve food security in the region.
Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal has summoned the Eritrean chargé d’affaires ad interim to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has asked him to explain why the embassy is collecting taxes and raising funds from Dutch nationals of Eritrean origin and Eritrean nationals living in the Netherlands.
Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal has summoned the Belarusian ambassador to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey the Netherlands’ objections to the expulsion of all Swedish diplomats from Belarus. The Minister’s move is part of a coordinated action by the EU member states.
Now that Burma is making reforms and European Union sanctions have been suspended, the Netherlands is stepping up its cooperation with Burma. Burmese, Dutch and other companies can now use Dutch programmes to stimulate the Burmese economy, and Burmese can apply to the Netherlands Fellowships Programme (NFP) for student grants.
With the transfer of power from the National Transitional Council to the General National Congress, Libya has taken a major step forward, says foreign minister Uri Rosenthal. ‘Following the success of the country’s first free elections, this is a new milestone for Libya and the Libyans,’ Mr Rosenthal said. ‘It is my pleasure to congratulate them.’
Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal is indignant that all Swedish diplomats have been told to leave Belarus within 30 days. The Belarusian government had already refused to extend the Swedish ambassador’s accreditation, saying that he had too many contacts with opposition groups.
Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal has welcomed the news of the Syrian Prime Minister’s defection. ‘This shows that there are cracks in the regime,’ he said. ‘Army officers and diplomats had already defected; now Assad is losing the support of trusted leaders. The more officials who give up their loyalty to Assad, the better. This weakens the regime from within. The Dutch government would encourage other officials to follow this example.’
Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal is pleased with reports that the Syrian prime minister has now defected. ‘Cracks are appearing in the regime. Assad is now losing the support of his confidants. We’ve already seen the defections of diplomats and members of the military.’
The Netherlands is giving an extra €1 million in aid to victims of the conflict in Syria. The Red Cross will use the money to provide 200,000 Syrians with food and medical help.
In September the Netherlands will be hosting the fourth meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People International Working Group on Sanctions. This coalition of like-minded countries meets regularly to discuss sanctions against Syria and ways of getting more countries to join in them. During the meeting in the Netherlands, the main focus will be on improving the sanctions against the Syrian regime. ‘I hope that by that time the situation in Syria will have changed for the better. But now we need to step up pressure on the regime,’ said foreign minister Uri Rosenthal.