Bremer warns Dutch to back Afghan mission
9 January 2006, AMSTERDAM — A decision not to send more troops in Afghanistan would be damaging for Dutch interests in the US, former American diplomat Paul Bremer III warned on Monday.
9 January 2006
AMSTERDAM — A decision not to send more troops in Afghanistan would be damaging for Dutch interests in the US, former American diplomat Paul Bremer III warned on Monday.
Dutch politicians have been putting off a final decision for weeks on whether to send 1,200 troops to southern Afghanistan to assist in the US-led campaign against the Taliban.
The coalition government, with the possible exception of junior partner D66, supports the mission but is reluctant to proceed without the backing of parliament. Many MPs in the 150-seat chamber are worried the the southern province of Uruzgan is too dangerous.
In an interview with Dutch newspaper 'De Volkskrant', Bremer said the Netherlands must not expect that a refusal to send the troops will not have consequences.
Acknowledging Dutch politicians must weigh all the considerations, he said question marks would be raised on the US side about Nato if the mission doesn't go ahead. "What is Nato all about if our allies are not prepared to stand should-to-shoulder with us?"
Bremer said Europe was correct to want more international cooperation "but when the possibility emerges, people are side-stepping it," he said.
Consequences would be unavoidable if the Dutch does not send the troops. "Time and time again decisions must be taken by the US government, by Congress, that influence Dutch economic interests. It is not difficult to imagine decisions could be taken that would not be in the interests of the Netherlands," Bremer said.
He said some elements in Europe do not understand how dangerous Muslim extremism is. "Many Europeans don't understand 11 September was an earthquake for almost all Americans," Bremer said.
President George W. Bush appointed Bremer the Director of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for post-war Iraq on 6 May 2003. He served as the effective civil ruler of the country until Iraqi sovereignty was restored on 28 June 2004.
Bremer was US ambassador to the Netherlands from 1983 until 1986, when he became Ambassador-at-Large for Counterterrorism for the US.
A book about his time in Iraq was published on Monday.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news + Afghanistan