Tuesday, 22 September 2015 - 08:46
Report: Netherlands rejects Guantanamo Bay prisoners; US: “Very disapointed”
The Netherlands is refusing to take in some prisoners from Guantanamo Bay for the time being. The United States is "very disappointed" in the Netherlands decision, especially since most other European countries have agreed to take in some prisoners. The Volkskrant reported this on Tuesday based on several sources within US politics. "We've discussed it for months at a high level, we have been kept on a leash", a key diplomat in Washington said to the newspaper. Another diplomat confirmed anger at a diplomatic level, calling it a "stain on the relations". The US asked the Netherlands to take in two prisoners months ago. US President Barack Obama wants to close the controversial prison in Cuba, but is meeting resistance from Congress - the Republicans do not want released prisoners setting foot on American soil. The US sources told the Volkskrant that the VVD is behind the Netherlands decision not to take prisoners. PvdA Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs and his predecessor Frans Timmermans were both willing to listen to arguments. But VVD Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice and faction leader Halbe Zijlstra are very much against it. A source in The Hague told the newspaper told that Koenders gave up the fight in July without informing the US, describing it as "undecided". This is a strange time for the Netherlands to be putting the relationship with the United States in jeopardy. The US and the Netherlands are both part of the anti-ISIS coalition and working together to fight the terrorist organization in Iraq. The Netherlands will also need goodwill from the Americans in the coming period to get the MH17 perpetrators extradited.. The Netherlands will also need the Americans' help to achieve its goal in winning a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council next year. The main competitor for that seat is Italy, who took in two Guantanamo prisoners. Diplomacy expert and director of think tank HCSS told the newspaper that refusing the prisoners will "definitely have consequences for our UN seat, I am convinced of that". US sources aren't saying that the Netherlands will be passed out loud, but do suggest it. "Friends do not do this to one another. If they want to do not want to do us a favor, we will not do them a favor." he said. "Where the US might take offense is that the Netherlands has many moral opinions about the closure, but says no when there is a possibility to do something for all those who are imprisoned unjustly. In an alliance the US expect solidarity. We are testing the alliance."