Prime Minister Mark Rutte will meet with United States president Donald Trump in the White House for the second time this evening. During the meeting, Rotterdam collector Bert Kreuk will hand Trump a D-Day flag he is donating to the United States. The main topic on the agenda for Rutte and Trump is trade, though Trump will likely also bring up the U.S. request to allies for a military contribution in Syria and to increase pressure on Iran, NOS reports.
The United States wants the Netherlands to provide "military assets on the ground" for a new mission in Syria aimed to keep terrorist organization ISIS small, Pete Hoekstra, the US Ambassador to the Netherlands, said to the Volkskrant.
The government plans to put an end to the Netherlands' contribution to the the UN military mission in Mali, sources told RTL Nieuws. There are currently 250 Dutch soldiers in the African country.
After a year long investigation, the Ministry of Defense found no evidence that decorated soldier Marco Kroon was kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2007 and afterwards killed his abductor. The Defense leaders therefore take into account that Kroon - at least partly - fabricated the story, the Volkskrant reports based on conversations with 13 people who were involved in the secret mission in Kabul, or have knowledge about the Defense investigation into this incident.
The Dutch government is examining possibilities for adjusting the Netherlands' contribution to the military mission in Afghanistan. Exactly what changes will be made is not yet clear, the Telegraaf reports.
The Netherlands has around 100 soldiers in Afghanistan for advisory work that forms part of the mission Resolute Support. On Wednesday Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld spoke with her American counterpart James Mattis in Washington. Mattis again asked Bijleveld to deploy more soldiers to the Afghanistan mission.
The Netherlands' mission in Afghanistan is being hindered by security issues, newspaper AD reports after visiting the Dutch soldiers on the mission with the new Commander of the Armed Forces, Lieutenant Admiral Rob Bauer. Soldiers who advise the local police officers often can't leave their base, there are too few security guards to accompany the advisors and some of them speak very little English, according to the newspaper.
It is unclear whether or not the Dutch investigators in Ukraine will be able to access or even travel to the crash site of flight MH17 today, as there is a chance that heavy fighting between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian separatists holding the area will continue. This was reported by David Jan Godfroid, a journalist with the NOS.