Embassies to focus on economic interests

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Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal says he wants Dutch diplomacy to change its mentality and focus more on Dutch economic interests.

In an interview in , he says a number of embassies will be closed or reduced, and others possibly opened, to respond to ongoing shifts in international relations, such as China's increasing influence.

Embassies likely to be closed include those located in countries that the Netherlands will stop giving development aid. At the same time, the remaining embassies will provide better service to Dutch citizens, Minister Rosenthal said.

Diplomacy as a form of genteel leisure, the minister stressed, was a thing of the past. Diplomacy now needs, he opined, young civil servants 'bursting with ideas and plans'.

The announcement is in line with plans of the previous government, comprising Christian Democrats, Labour and the Christian Union.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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