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Diplomacy in Action

Remarks With Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans Before Their Meeting


Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 20, 2013

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The video is also available with closed captioning on YouTube.

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. My great pleasure to welcome His Excellency the Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans of The Netherlands, here to visit today. The Netherlands has been a very staunch, early, immediate supporter of our efforts to try to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria, and I’m very grateful to Frans for their very, very strong statement in support of that. We’re absolutely on the same page as we go to the United Nations.

I might just mention that this morning, I had a fairly long conversation with Foreign Minister Lavrov. We talked about the cooperation which we both agreed to continue to provide, moving not only towards the adoption of the OPCW rules and regulations, but also a resolution that is firm and strong within the United Nations. We will continue to work on that.

Our friends from The Netherlands are also enormously important partners with respect to critical human rights issues on a global basis. And I might add they’ve been very significant contributors to the humanitarian crisis in Syria. But on human rights, on civil society, on personal rights, on internet freedom, on all of these kinds of things, we have a strong partnership. And cementing that partnership is the fact that The Netherlands is the third largest direct investor in the United States of America, as well as important partners as we move forward on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

So we have a lot to work on together, a great history of cooperation, and I’m very, very privileged to welcome the Foreign Minister here today. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER TIMMERMANS: Thank you very much. I really want to thank Secretary Kerry for having me here today. It is a great opportunity to look in these international issues where we see eye to eye. I really want to congratulate Secretary Kerry on his leadership in the Syria issue, which means that today we’re actually looking at disarmament of chemical weapons, which would not have happened without your leadership, and we will continue to support American efforts, first and foremost, to stop atrocities against innocent people in Syria, and secondly, to find a way ahead to create peace in that troubled country.

We are exactly on the same page. Anything we can do to support your efforts, we will. In the UN, we see eye to eye as to the content of the United Nations Security Council resolution, which should be very firm on making sure that Assad, who doesn’t have a track record of actually doing what he promises, does what he has promised now, and we will certainly support any efforts that go in that direction.

SECRETARY KERRY: Fabulous.

FOREIGN MINISTER TIMMERMANS: Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER TIMMERMANS: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY KERRY: You’re welcome.

FOREIGN MINISTER TIMMERMANS: Thanks, thanks a lot.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. Thank you.



PRN: 2013/1148



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