US seeks Dutch backing in future conflicts
21 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — The US government wants to discuss with The Hague what role the Dutch military could play during military conflicts and crisis situations over the next four years, the foreign affairs ministry has confirmed.
21 March 2005
AMSTERDAM — The US government wants to discuss with The Hague what role the Dutch military could play during military conflicts and crisis situations over the next four years, the foreign affairs ministry has confirmed.
The Netherlands is among a select group of allies that will be approached in the near future by Washington for closer military co-operation.
It is the first time that the US government will contact allies outside the context of existing Nato links to determine future military strategy, newspaper 'De Volkskrant' reported on Monday.
The Dutch embassy in Washington has also confirmed Washington's intentions, but the foreign affairs ministry in The Hague has not yet received an official notification. The ministry expects the request to be made official in the near future.
Discussions with America's most trusted allies will be held in the context of the 'Quadrennial Defense Review'. The report, which covers four-year periods, is used by the Defence Ministry in Washington to determine the size, strength and strategy of US forces.
A Dutch foreign affairs ministry spokesman said the Netherlands was already engaged in extensive talks within Nato with the US over military-co-operation. But he said this is the first time that the Netherlands would be involved in the new evaluation.
Washington hopes to clarify what military tasks its allies will be prepared to take on in coming years against the threat of terrorism, in new military conflicts and peacekeeping missions.
The Pentagon hopes the division of tasks will lead to a more efficient response to conflicts and free up resources for other military priorities. It is possible that agreements over elite units will be made, with a top US air force general recently asserting that the Dutch air force was the best in Europe.
The Netherlands is already supporting the US-led war against terror by the supply of navy ships to assist in the gathering of intelligence. Commandos and marines will also be deployed shortly in Iraq to help US forces seek out al-Qaeda operatives.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news