Monday, March 3, 2014 - 10:58
Dutch Gov't condemns Russia invasion
The Dutch cabinet is condemning Russian military interference in Ukraine. By bringing troops into the country, Russia is only escalating the problems, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans, wrote to the House of parliament on Sunday evening, de Telegraaf reports. There is a need now for a diplomatic solution. The Minister is concerned especially with Russian activities on and around the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea. These are"extraordinarily worrisome", Timmermans wrote. In order to prevent further escalation of the problems in ukraine, international efforts have to be made to ensure the possibility of dialogue between all parties involved in the conflict, the minister emphasized. Ukraine's sovereignty has to be considered, this means that everyone has to adhere to international law and international treaties. Current Russian activities in and around Crimea form "a direct threat to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and are going straight against the calls of the international community to protect these fundamental principals." Territorial integrity means that the borders of a state cannot be allowed to be amended without approval of the state itself. The Netherlands wants to maintain discussions with all parties, including Russia. The Russian authorities are, "however unacceptable their current actions may be", necessary for a political solution. Timmermans does warn that there are boundaries, however. If Russia makes itself guilty of "evident animosities", or is unwilling to adhere to international law and treaties, which the country has signed, then this will have consequences. The Minister doesn't yet say which concrete political and economic measures could be concerned. The cabinet appreciates the reserve with which the powers of Kiev have reacted so far to the increasing tensions. "This reserve must be maintained", Timmermans writes. He emphasizes that it is important for all parties to maintain the peace. Relations between the Netherlands and Russia have been terse in both political and economic spheres. Recently, Russia boycotted Dutch pork and dairy products on the argument of safety concerns. Dutch poultry was also rejected by Russia due to Veterinary Law violations. Human rights in the Netherlands has also been criticized by Russia. The arrest of Greenpeace activists, two of whom were Dutch, last year also caused tension. Diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Russia was not helped when Russian diplomat Dmitry Borodin was arrested in The Hague last year for assaulting his children. The incident was strongly protested by the Russian ministry of Foreign Affairs who felt that his diplomatic immunity was not respected. Gay rights in Russia has also been a hot topic, as Dutch delegates' attendance at the Sochi Winter Olympics was protested by gay rights groups and politicians. Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Amsterdam last year was also protested by gay rights interest groups. Putin's proposed ban on "gay propaganda" at the time was met in Amsterdam with rainbow flags to welcome the President. Femen also protested Putin for gay rights issues in Amsterdam last year. A Russian asylum seeker, who was protesting Putin's government, was last year refused asylum in the Netherlands, which caused him to kill himself in a Rotterdam detention facility.