Dutch FM calms Venezuela invasion fears
11 July 2006, AMSTERDAM — Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot visited Caracas in a bid to improve relations between the Netherlands and Venezuela.
11 July 2006
AMSTERDAM — Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot visited Caracas in a bid to improve relations between the Netherlands and Venezuela.
Bot met with Venezuelan Vice President Vincente Rangel and Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez. He was to meet with President Hugo Chavez later in the day.
Firstly, he made clear the islands of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba remain Dutch and he expected Venezuela to respect the integrity of the Antilles.
The government in The Hague is currently in negotiations with the five islands of the Antilles about a new constitutional arrangement that will lead to dissolution of the link between the islands.
Dutch Defence Minster Henk Kamp angered Caracas earlier this year by branding Chavez as a populist who had designs on the Antillean islands off the coast.
The Antilles consist of two island groups. Curacao and Bonaire are located off the coast of Venezuela, and St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius lie east of the US Virgin Islands. The self-governing island of Aruba is off Venezuela's north coast.
Bot's also assured Chavez that he need not fear the Antilles might be used by the US as a "springboard" for hostile actions against his government.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Dutch news