Remarks With Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
April 30, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. I am very happy to be here with Foreign Minister of the Netherlands Bert Koenders. We have met previously, and I’m pleased to underscore today the incredible positive working relationship that the United States is blessed to enjoy with the Netherlands. We are entwined in so many different efforts together. We’re grateful for the Netherlands participation and leadership in the anti-ISIL efforts, as well as their humanitarian concerns and considerations not just for dealing with Ebola, where they were front and center, but also dealing with the refugee crisis that comes from the Middle East today, and particularly Syria.

We also have for years, from the days of New Amsterdam, a very strong economic relationship, one of the most significant investors in the United States and one of the most important partners in trade and the economic rules of the road. And particularly, we’re grateful for the Netherlands support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which is a very important if not critical growth engine for Europe and for the future, and we’ll be talking a lot more about that in the days ahead.

We are also sharing concerns about Yemen and the need to try to contain the struggle there so that it doesn’t have a greater impact on the region, but also get to a political resolution.

And finally, let me say how much we respect the leadership of the Netherlands on the issue of the Malaysian Airlines MH17. They are leading the investigation and also leading the efforts for accountability, and that is a very significant step.

So Bert, thank you. Happy Koningsdag (inaudible).

FOREIGN MINISTER KOENDERS: Yeah, thank you very much. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY KERRY: And we’re happy to have you here.



FOREIGN MINISTER KOENDERS: Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Secretary Kerry. We’re very glad to be here this morning. For us, the United States is an invaluable ally in the region. As you know, there is a lot going on in Europe and around Europe. And I think the transatlantic relationships are more important than ever to work together to reduce and to de-escalate the conflicts that we have in our region.

We work together, as you said, John, in the area of NATO and the (inaudible) policy. We work together to ensure that also the Minsk agreement, the Minsk II agreement, is really implemented in a correct manner. I think that is very important. As you said, John, I think it’s important that we work also on this struggle against Daesh. We work together in different ways; also in the foreign terrorist fighters forum. I think it’s important.

I appreciate very much and I hope to inform you further today on the progress that we are making on the investigation on the MH17 and the importance of accountability. This is a very crucial phase we are in. The repatriation phase has been finalized yesterday, and now it’s important that we go in the direction of accountability. We’re looking forward to the talks here, and thank you very much for having us.

SECRETARY KERRY: It’s my pleasure.

FOREIGN MINISTER KOENDERS: Thank you very much. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thanks for being here. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you.