Published On: Thu, Jun 5th, 2014

Caribbean islands get more say over foreign affairs

Timmermans-AsjesWILLEMSTAD – The Netherlands will emphatically involve the three islands in the Caribbean in the foreign policy of the Dutch Kingdom. This is what has been agreed upon during the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs’ visit to Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten.

Frans Timmermans’ visit to the Dutch Caribbean was to participate in the Kingdom Consultations on Foreign Relations, which is a joint conference on the foreign policy of the Kingdom. The Prime Ministers of each island are also in charge of foreign relations in their respective governments.

In the Kingdom, Defense and Foreign Affairs are the responsibility of the Netherlands. Timmermans agreed this week to formally consult with the prime ministers of the three countries on an annual basis.  In that discussion, the islands can present their priorities in the field of Dutch foreign policy.

One of these priorities is a relaxation of visa policy towards Colombians who want to visit Curacao. Now citizens of this country have to apply for a visa in The Hague. Timmermans has committed to the abolition of the visa requirement.

The four countries have also agreed to start a campaign to make the Dutch Kingdom a temporary member of the UN Security Council. The three countries would then play an active role in this campaign.

Curaçao, since its new autonomous status in 2010, is no longer an independent member of the International Olympic Committee. Timmermans has recently written a letter to IOC president, Thomas Bach in which he expresses his support for the desire of the country to become a member. “If it gets that far and Churandy Martina wins a medal, then we are going to celebrate it together,” Timmermans said.

 

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