Washington refuses to back Aruba boycott

10th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

10 November 2005, AMSTERDAM — The call by Alabama governor Bob Riley for American tourists to boycott the autonomous Dutch island of Aruba is not supported by Washington.

10 November 2005

AMSTERDAM — The call by Alabama governor Bob Riley for American tourists to boycott the autonomous Dutch island of Aruba is not supported by Washington.

During a meeting at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday evening, Chat Blakeman, Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in The Hague, confirmed  "the governor's comments do not reflect the view of the United States".

Prime Minister Nelson Oduber of Aruba had asked Washington to clarify its position after Riley called on his fellow governors to support a boycott of the Caribbean island.

Riley accused the island authorities of not fully cooperating in the search for missing Alabama school graduate Natalee Holloway (18). "There are no other alternatives to get Aruban authorities to take this as seriously as they should," he said on Tuesday.

Dutch officials emphasised on Wednesday that everything possible is being done to solve the disappearance, and that Aruba remains a safe destination for US tourists. The Dutch Ambassador in Washington is to discuss the issue shortly with US officials.

Holloway disappeared on 30 May while on holiday in Aruba with classmates. Extensive searches have failed to find her. The police think she was murdered.

A Dutch teenager and two Surinamese brothers are believed to have been the last people with Holloway prior to her disappearance. The three young men were held in custody for some time before being released without a breakthrough in the case.

The parliament on Aruba went into emergency session after the boycott call. Afterwards Prime Minister Nelson Oduber said Aruba wanted the US President to intervene.

"Aruba is not Cuba, North Korea or Iraq. We are friends with America. Most tourists come from the United States and we work together to combat drugs, criminality and money laundering," Oduber said angrily.

Tourism figures for the months after Holloway's disappearance do not show a drop in the number of American's visiting the island. Mirna Jansen of Aruba's tourist board noted that US citizens did not appear to be following through on their claims to be less inclined to come to the island.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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