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.
In response to a drone attack by the United States on a Baghdad airport, killing an Iranian military leader, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the events unfolding in Iraq are "worrying and serious." The attack happened weeks before the Dutch military was to send a frigate and helicopter to help patrol the Strait of Hormuz, which the U.S. requested months ago.
The Netherlands will contribute to a mission to protect the important oil shipping routes in the Strait of Hormuz. A navy ship will be deployed to the Persian Gulf for six months, to take part in a mission led by France that is set to start in January, sources in The Hague confirmed to RTL Nieuws after reports by ANP.
The mission is expected to cost between 10 million and 15 million euros. The Netherland's role will mainly be an 'observing' one, according to the broadcaster's sources. The mission's headquarters will be a French naval base in Abu Dhabi.
The relationship between the Netherlands and the United States has "cooled down" and "soured" according to Dutch diplomats and diplomatic experts. "There is declining confidence, I hear at the top of Dutch diplomacy", diplomatic expert Robert van de Roer said to RTL Nieuws. "Behind the scenes you hear: America is not America anymore."
The Netherlands is willing to send a naval ship to the Strait of Hormuz near Iran to protect oil tankers against attacks, as the United States requested, but only if this happens in a European context, the Telegraaf reports based on sources in The Hague.
Dutch marines expect that there will be more skirmishes with Iran, should the Dutch government decide to agree to the American request to send a naval ship to the Strait of Hormuz near Iran. Though the Dutch navy is definitely up for the challenge and the risks involved in such a mission are limited, naval experts said to newspaper AD.
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.