Published On: Thu, May 31st, 2018

Dutch MP: Defense of the ABC islands must be more robust

Dutch ParliamentTHE HAGUE - The military defense of the ABC islands must be strengthened. Member of Parliament Isabelle Diks (GroenLinks) has submitted a motion to this end. In a debate with Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld about the Defense Memorandum, Diks voiced her concerns about the increasing unrest in Venezuela and the possible security risks for Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire as the situation in the neighboring country escalates further.

"Venezuela is destabilizing rapidly. This requires a robust defense of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. In order to strengthen this defense we look at opportunities for cooperation with countries that also have defense responsibility for Caribbean islands such as France and Great Britain, in addition to our own naval capabilities. Has it ever been thought about a treaty with other western countries with territories in the Caribbean about a joint defense of the islands? ", Diks asked the minister.

The MP wants to see that the Netherlands makes formal agreements with allies to protect the islands together if necessary. To this end, she submitted a motion with the following text: "Considering the destabilization of Venezuela and the political unpredictability which it entails in that country, a robust defense of the Caribbean islands is necessary, and a further integrated defense with other Western powers can save costs; asks the government to consider whether and how a far-reaching form of integrated and joint defense of the Caribbean with other Western powers is possible and desirable, while also exploring the possibility of mutual defense."

Bijleveld said that he did not have any trouble with the motion: "As Kingdom Ministry, we are responsible for the defense of the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom. At present, there is no direct threat to the sovereignty or territorial integrity of the Kingdom. We keep a close eye on developments. We have good contacts with the countries in the region. Contacts with Venezuela are also important for security in the region. That is why it is important to keep the dialogue open. That is what colleague Blok is working on. We are preparing for it. We talk about this with other countries, also with the Americans in case we should scale up."

By Rene Zwart

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