Timmermans Debates In House On Russia
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans, was on Wednesday in the House to answer questions about the status of the relationship with Russia.
Many worried MPs wanted to know from the minister how the discussions, cooperation and negotiations go about the various issues. The minister answered that all communications are happening in a relaxed way during which both parties show respect for each other. Timmermans added, “I am happy that no new incidents have happened.”
The way the government and especially Frans Timmermans has handled the incidents and the commotion about the incidents finds much appreciation in the House. Timmermans has from the start of each issue followed the way of keeping calm and better glue the relationship then break it further down by taking strong position. The minister is an outstanding diplomat with relevant experience in Russia and his approach has now been proven the right way to break the tension between Russia and the Netherlands.
While immediately after the two incidents with the diplomats, some MPs wanted to put a halt to the Russian-Netherlands year and reconsider the trip of King Willem-Alexander to Russia, the same MPs are now in favor of the trip and the, by Timmermans organized, diner of the king with Vladimir Putin.
Much attention of the MPs was for the situation with the diplomat Elderenbosch.
Elderenbosch, second in command at the Dutch embassy in Moscow, was two weeks ago molested in his apartment in Moscow. The Russians, however have immediately taken that case very serious and are investigating that happening thoroughly.
Timmermans let the House know that this Friday Elderenbosch is going to cooperate with the Russian police and government on the case.
A lot of concern was also, was about the situation of the Greenpeace activists which are held in prison for piracy. Among the crew of the ship which was sailing under the Dutch flag, were also two Dutch activists. The activists are now already 1 month in a cell.
The Netherlands are busy trying to free the activists via the Tribunal for Maritime Law. The minister expects on November 21 a ruling of the Tribunal. “A solution for the activists does not necessarily have to come by court. We are also negotiating in an informal way. More about these negotiations I can’t say in order not to bring these negotiations in jeopardy,” told the minister to the MPS.
The Russian press bureaus have announced that the charge to the activists has been weakened from piracy to hooliganism. The minister said that there was no official message received about that issue by the governement yet.
Non je ne regrette rien
One day after Timmermans made official excuses of the Netherlands to Russia in the Borodin case, the minister placed the song of Edith Piaf on his Facebook page. The song is about that the singer has no regrets whatsoever. Since in the excuses Timmermans explicitly told that personally he understood the policemen although they had violated the treaty of Vienna.
Timmermans explained to the MPs that the song had nothing to do with his excuses but that on that particular day, Edith Piaf died 50 years ago.
The minister who is a fanatic Facebook user with 23 thousand followers promised the MPs, with a smile, not to start on Twitter.