No promises to the US yet

3rd April 2007, Comments 0 comments

3 April 2007, AMSTERDAM – US Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice has expressed the hope that the Netherlands will continue its military presence in Afghanistan, even after the current mission expires in August 2008. Rice met for the first time with Dutch Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen in Washington on Monday, the Volkskrant reports.

3 April 2007

AMSTERDAM – US Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice has expressed the hope that the Netherlands will continue its military presence in Afghanistan, even after the current mission expires in August 2008. Rice met for the first time with Dutch Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen in Washington on Monday, the Volkskrant reports.

The Dutch delegation urged Rice not to submit any formal request regarding this at this stage. Verhagen made reference to the agreement in the government that a decision would be made this summer on the possible continuation of mission to Uruzgan.

Afghanistan was the most important topic in the 90 minute meeting. Verhagen said after the talk that it was "evident" that Afghanistan would still need continued NATO military support even after the end of 2008. He said:  "Secretary of state  Rice stressed the need for a NATO commitment after 2008."

It came as no surprise that Rice would like the Netherlands to stay on in the region. "I haven't ruled it out," the minister said when asked. But he also said that it was NATO's duty to find someone to take over the Dutch tasks."

The US recently brought an addition 3,000 troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to tackle the Taliban. Washington thinks that Europe should continue to do its share in the region.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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