Rutte: Only strikes in Iraq, not Syria

At the UN Security Summit in New York on Wednesday, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the UN sanctions against jihadis are very important, and that The Netherlands supports them, but that the Dutch effort only extends to Iraq, not Syria, the Algemeen Dagblad reports. 

The Prime Minister confirmed that The Netherlands is sending F-16's to the Arabic area, as well as 380 troops, which the Cabinet decided Wednesday.

Members of the Security Council unanimously signed a UN resolution stipulating that the countries must bring justice to jihadi forces. "This resolution is important", Rutte said. "It is important that we, as participating countries send a signal."

Rutte did emphasize that The Netherlands is only supporting a military operation in Iraq, not in Syria. The effort may extend to Syria if in future The Netherlands has to make new considerations about whether a military operation is justified in the law of nations.

"As The Netherlands, we have strict interpretations about a military contribution and the need of a mandate under international law. I think we should be very precise. In Iraq, there is a mandate under international law. In Syria, there isn't", the PM said.

For the United States, the nearly 200 air strikes already performed in Syria are justified under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. This stipulates that countries "have the right to self-protection."

For Rutte, this reading is far too broad. He also points out that no country in Europe is currently going to be active in Syria. "It looks a but like we alone are only active in Iraq, but I think that counts for all European countries."

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