Published On: Thu, Nov 27th, 2014

SMOC: “Weak response from Dutch Minister Koenders”

RefineryWILLEMSTAD – A few weeks ago, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Relations received a letter from the local environmental organization SMOC on the fact that the oil refinery will refine oil from Russia. According to the organization, they did not receive a response yet from the minister. However, the SMOC’s question was also the basis of a parliamentary question from the opposition party D66. These questions were speedily answered by the minister. So far the positive news, according to SMOC.

Why is it important for SMOC to pay attention to the Russian business with the oil refinery Isla? “One of the objectives of SMOC is to ensure a clean and healthy environment for the Curaçao population, because it is a fundamental right. Isla takes its nuisance permit by no means seriously, by which the people who live in the shadow of the Isla, have to pay the highest price. It is therefore no wonder that the unlawful actions of the Isla have already been determined by the court. Isla’s actions and its attitude towards the public interest and the authorities has been subpar. The question therefore is whether the recently announced Russian business is mere a coincidence or just a disregard towards the public’s interest. The latter would fit perfectly into the business strategy of the Isla as the island has experienced it for decades now. Koenders is well aware of this.”

Koenders’ answers are therefore disappointing. On the one hand, he emphasized the interest of the Kingdom as soon as the EU sanctions are set aside somewhere in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On the other hand, these words are nothing, once when it comes to deeds. If Koenders, as well as the parliament, believes that the EU sanctions are important, then they should want to know more about the Russian business with the Isla. You don’t see that in his answers. Now it seems that Koenders did not really figured out the EU sanctions, nor actively sought information from the Curaçao Premier Asjes and Isla. Koenders simply seems to rely on the fact that if there is a breach of EU sanctions, or doubts about this, his ministry would be informed automatically. Well, that's just about the last thing you can expect from the Isla and Curaçao government that has never been an obstacle for the Isla. Shouldn’t Koenders with his wide geopolitical experience really do not know better or does he not want to know better?

According to SMOC, PDVSA indeed does business with PetroChina, which is in fact affiliated with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). On October 13, 2014, Rosneft has announced to strengthen cooperation with CNPC. Rosneft is on the list of Russian entities, according to the EU sanctions, which may not be traded with. According to Reuters the fact that CNPC has recently acquired a 20 per cent stake in the Novatek-led Yamal LNG project in Russia's Arctic also applies. In short, the doings of the Isla seems to be at odds with the EU sanctions (see especially Art. 4 on Arctic oil and the attachment at the bottom of the sanctions). Koenders should therefore like to know where the oil imported from Russia by the Isla actually comes from. Is PDVSA directly or indirectly helping Rosneft in the saddle, while this is contrary to EU sanctions defended by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans in the international arena? With Koenders we'll never find out and so has the Isla, in addition to the oil spill from Jan Kok, another mystery.

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