Dutch FM visiting Gulf states to discuss tensions in the region

Stef Blok, Foreign Affairs, EU, Brussels
Stef Blok attending the Foreign Affairs Council of the EU in Brussels. July 15, 2019Ale_MiDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs is visiting Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates this week to discuss the tensions in the Gulf region, stressing the importance of deescalation and free passage in the Gulf. He will also visit Dutch frigate Zr.MS. De Ruyter, which will be active in the Strait of Hormuz from this week.  "A safe Gulf is of great political and economic importance to us," Blok said in a statement.

Between Wednesday and Sunday, Blok will successively visit Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Tehran.

In Saudi Arabia, the Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister will meet with his counterpart and the Minister of State to discuss reducing regional tensions and conflicts. He will also bring up the human rights situation in the country, paying specific attention to the position of women in Saudi Arabia.

Blok will also discuss the tensions in the region in Iran, as well as the nuclear agenda. "The Netherlands is critical of Iran, but we are seeking cooperation wherever possible. Only by continuing to talk can we address our concerns," he said. He will discuss the nuclear agreement, the human rights situation in Iran, and the country's ballistic missile program with his Iranian counterpart.

In the United Arab Emirates, Blok will meet with his counterpart to talk about the political and economic relations between the Netherlands and the UAE. Abu Dhabi is also the home base to the new maritime observation and deescalation mission European-led Mission Awareness Strait of Hormuz (EMASoH), in which the Netherlands and France are currently participating.

"It is important for the Netherlands that the Strait of Hormuz remains safe and open to free traffic. Europe has a role to play in this. The Netherlands takes its responsibility, both militarily and diplomatically," Blok said. Dutch frigate Zr.MS. De Ruiter will be patrolling on the Strait of Hormuz from this week. And Dutch ambassador Jeannette Seppe was appointed the diplomatic representative of the mission.