Cabinet relieved about Bin Ladens death

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The Dutch government has welcomed the news of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's death in a US operation. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Defence Minister Hans Hillen said a major blow had been struck against the terrorist network, but emphasized that the fight against terrorism was not over and vigilance was still called for.

Mr Rutte said there were at present no indications pointing to possible revenge attacks in the Netherlands, but added that the security services would remain vigilant. In a statement on public radio the prime minister said: “There is no lack of madmen willing to do the most terrible things.” Mr Rutte praised the courage and determination of the US troops who carried out the operation. He had his appreciation conveyed to US President Barack Obama immediately after being informed of the news.

The prime minister said he was impressed by the US president’s speech ”as leader of the free world”. Mr Rutte said it was a good thing that “this terrible man” Osama bin Laden had been apprehended. He said he understood it was impossible to capture him alive because he had been “extremely well protected.”

Defence Minister Hillen pointed out that terror has many faces and that Al Qaeda is a many-headed monster. He said that Osama bin Laden’s death had great symbolic value but did not mean the world is now a safer place. Mr Hillen said he regretted that Osama bin Laden was not taken alive; a trial would have been preferable, he said.

Opposition parties PvdA Labour, the democrat party D66, the Socialist Party and the Green Left party regard the operation as a success for the United States, but regretted that Osama bin Laden would not be facing trial.

Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders spoke of a historic day. PvdA leader Job Cohen said he did not believe the world had suddenly become a safer place and said he would not be surprised if retaliatory attacks were being planned.

Socialist Party leader Emile Roemer said that to many people Osama bin Laden’s death would come as a relief, but added that there would also be many who would not be pleased. Green Left leader Jolande Sap said the next step must be closing Guantanamo Bay, the US detention centre for alleged terrorists.


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