January 19, 2019

Breaking News:

  • Ambassador Odette Melono Assumes Office as OPCW Deputy Director- General

    THE HAGUE, Netherlands— 15 January 2019 —Ambassador Odette Melono of Cameroon joined the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) yesterday as the as new Deputy Director-General. She is the fourth person to hold this office since the Organisation was established in 1997. She succeeds Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao of India. The Director-General of the OPCW, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, extended a warm welcome to the new Deputy Director-General and stated: “I look forward to working with Ambassador Melono during this crucial time for our Organisation and am confident that her insight, experience, and remarkable knowledge of chemical disarmament…

  • The city with a worldwide view

    By the Honourable Pauline Krikke, Mayor of The Hague. That’s how I have come to know The Hague since I became Mayor on 17 March 2017. Of course, I already knew of The Hague’s particular reputation as a diplomatic centre and as the city of peace and justice. But it was really only after I became involved in the day-to-day aspects of the job that I started to understand just how much that international element is a quintessential part of The Hague. Not just in many specific places in our city but also while on foreign trips. I met many diplomats and…

  • The Peace Palace: Temple of Peace for the World

     By Sheila Turabaz Mr. Erik de Baedts is the General Director of the Carnegie Foundation-Peace Palace and Treasurer of the Hague Academy of International Law since 2015. A soft-spoken yet determined man with a strong vision; Mr. De Baedts possesses a wealth of knowledge on issues related to peace and justice and has found his calling: enhancing the mission of the Peace Palace as a temple of peace for the world. We sat down for an in-depth interview with Mr. De Baedts to discuss his views on peace (through law), reflect on the past of the Peace Palace as well…

  • European state of mind

    By H.E. Ms. Andrea Gustović-Ercegovac, Ambassador of Croatia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. After joining NATO in April 2009 and the EU in July 2013, we can say that our European integration project is reaching a completion stage. Our position is that of a European partner and a connecting country between Eastern, Central and Western Europe. Our focus is on what unites the EU today, and much less on what could divide us. We should jointly engage to ensure prosperity and security of our citizens. Europe is going through a turbulent time with anti-immigrant populist politics becoming more prominent,…

  • Negotiations at the heart of the skill set of a diplomat

    By Ron Ton, Director of Clingendael Academy Who said negotiations in diplomacy is easy? Negotiating in bilateral relations, within international organisations, in trade and investment, with conflicting parties, lobby groups or NGO’s or at global international conferences, it all should be in the negotiation skills set of a diplomat. It’s not only the variety in the context which makes negotiations complex for diplomats. Also, changing policy concerns entered the diplomatic negotiation arena, in the field of sustainable development issues, refugee crises, cyber security or the digital agenda. At the same time the number of non-state actors trying to influence international…

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Diplomatic News

OPCW Director-General, EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference

Dec 30, 2018

H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) (left) with H.E. Mr Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, and Minister of Defence of Belgium (right). OPCW Director-General Meets with Belgian Deputy Prime Minister The Hague, Netherlands —19 December 2018— The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Mr. Fernando Arias, met with the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, and Minister of Defence of Belgium, H.E. Mr. Didier Reynders, and delivered a keynote address at the Seventh European Union…

US Commerce Department hails at success of EU-US Privacy Shield

Dec 30, 2018

On the picture Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice. By Guido Lanfranchi. In the wake of the European Commission’s report on the EU-US Privacy Shield program, the US Department of Commerce welcomed the program’s progress and success and pledged to further cooperate with its European counterparts to support transatlantic trade. On December 19th, the European Commission released its evaluation report of the EU-US Privacy Shield, contributing to the program’s second annual review. Privacy Shield is a framework regulating the compliance with data protection requirements when transferring personal data from Europe to the United States, in support of transatlantic commerce. Since its creation in…

Denmark contributes to OPCW

Dec 27, 2018

H.E. Mr Jens-Otto Horslund, Ambassador of Denmark and H.E. Mr. Fernando Arias, OPCW Director-General. Denmark Contributes DKK 600,000 to OPCW Team to Identify Perpetrators of Chemical Weapons Use The Hague, Netherlands — 19 December 2018 — The Government of the Kingdom of Denmark is contributing DKK 600,000 towards the formation and operation of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) team to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic pursuant to a decision of the Fourth Special Session of the Conference of States Parties. The contribution was formalised with an agreement signed…

Salvadorian Contemporary Art: From Abstract to Sacred

Dec 24, 2018

The Ambassador of El Salvador H.E. Mr.  Agustín Vásquez Gómez  and  artist Rodolfo Oviedo Vega.   By Roy Lie Atjam. The Latin-America Table, Society De Witte, organized a presentation featuring the Salvadorian artist Mr. Rodolfo Oviedo Vega. The Ambassador of El Salvador H.E. Mr. Agustín Vásquez Gómez honoured the event with his presence and subsequent introduction of Oviedo Vega. Mr. Rodolfo Oviedo Vega’s presentation dealt with Salvadorian contemporary art. Fine art came to the shores of El Salvador after its independence in 1821. A century later (1917) abstract works became famous. Mr. Rodolfo Oviedo Vega studied in El Salvador, he also…

King Abdullah II of Jordan on working visit at Brussels

Dec 22, 2018

HM King Abdullah II of Jordan and Jean-Claude Juncker – Picture by European Union, 2018, Étienne Ansotte. 11-12 December 2018, Brussels: the European Union and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan recently agreed on a number of actions strengthening their relations on political, security, trade and cooperation matters. The EU-Jordan long standing partnership and common challenges in the political, security and economic areas were amongst the topics discussed by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini and HM King Abdullah II as well as regional developments and their impact on Jordan. This meeting also provided an opportunity…

Global Challenges for a sustainable future: Visions from Kazakhstan

Dec 22, 2018

H.E. Mr. Magzhan Ilyassov Ambassador of Kazakhstan. Visions from Kazakhstan, a Panel Discussion By Roy Lie Atjam. The Hague, 12 December 2018. The Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the Netherlands organized a panel discussion on the theme “Global Challenges for a sustainable future: Visions from Kazakhstan”. The venue, Grote zaal of Society De Witte. The panellists were: H.E. Mr. Magzhan Ilyassov Ambassador of Kazakhstan, Prof. Dr. Ruard Ganzevoort– Senator of the Dutch and Dean of the Faculty of Religion and Theology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Further, Ms. Marzhan Nurzhan– Parliamentarian for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Program Officer Czech Republic. Also on…

The US reiterates its support for European energy security and diversification

Dec 18, 2018

By Guido Lanfranchi. In his recent trip to Europe, Bureau of Energy Resources Assistant Secretary Francis Fannon visited Prague, Budapest and Zagreb to discuss European energy security. The United States – Mr. Fannon reiterated – remains committed to support European energy differentiation and to reduce its dependency from Russia.   In a moment of increasing tensions between Russia and the West, Bureau of Energy Resource Assistant Secretary, Mr. Francis Fannon, recently traveled to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Croatia in order to discuss European energy security. This trip was part of a broader outreach effort , which led Mr. Fannon to…

Venezuelan Chocolate & Rum Tasting: A guided sensory journey through the most beautiful regions of Venezuela

Dec 18, 2018

By Jochebed Kastaneer, MSc. On Friday 14th of December, the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the Kingdom of the Netherlands in collaboration with Diplomat Magazine and Diplomatic Card, hosted an exclusive Venezuelan Chocolate and Rum tasting. Via chocolate and rum, invitees experienced a guided sensory journey through the most beautiful regions of Venezuela, while physically remaining at the luxurious Crowne Plaza Hotel in the Hague. Awaiting the arrival H.E. Ms. Haifa Aissami Madah,  Ambassador  of  Venezuela Permanent Mission to the International  Organisations in The Hague, Mr. Wilhen Diaz Lara, Chargé d´Affaires a.i., and his colleagues personally and warmly welcomed all…

Brexit at Des Indes

Dec 18, 2018

Coen Masselink, Des Indes General Manager and speaker Rem Korteweg together with ambassadors attending the conference. In the most traditional Des Indes style, Ambassadors and heads of missions participated in a lunch conference on an extremely sensitive issue, Brexit, at a time where no one knows how this situation will evolve. For additional Kim Vermaat’s pictures, please open the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/109407424@N02/albums/72157674623421627 The “Ambassador’s Lunch” initiative is a series of lunch-conferences organized by the experienced General Manager of Des Indes, Coen Masselink, to give the opportunity to Ambassadors and heads of missions to discuss contemporary political subjects with Dutch experts….

The United States blames Russia for the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine

Dec 18, 2018

By Guido Lanfranchi.   Speaking from Brussels in the midst of meetings with NATO and European allies, the US Special Representative for Ukraine, Ambassador Kurt Volker, condemns Russia for the lack of progress in resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine, as well as for the recent escalations in the Kerch Strait.     Almost five years after its start, the conflict in Ukraine shows no signs of winding down. Rather, after a long period of stall, tensions have recently soared as a result of the confrontation between Ukraine and Russia in the Kerch Strait. With both sides accusing each other…

Diplomatic Pouch

Can NATO deal with today`s threats?

By Barend ter Haar. During almost half a century NATO has been extremely successful. It helped to prevent a Third World War, kept the Soviet Union out of Western Europe and created a stable basis for the development of the European Union. It accomplished this by maintaining a credible common defence and by keeping the members of the Alliance together. Both would have been impossible without the leadership of the United States. But now that the danger of large-scale military attack has vanished, has NATO become obsolete? And if not, is it able “to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and…

Protection and Security, the Diplomatic Front Office

By Frans Scholten and Edwin Verhage. In the ten years of its existence, the Police’s Diplomatic Front Office (DFO) Unit The Hague has proven its value as a central point of contact for the diplomatic corps and representatives of international organizations. The office has been able to develop itself as a crucial contact point and has provided advice and information on the services of The Hague’s Police in general, as well as on security related questions. The Diplomatic Front Office maintains contacts with representatives of the diplomatic corps and international organizations. The office’s employees can answer specific questions in the…

Facilitation of women entrepreneurship in Bangladesh and their export potential

Ambassador Imtiaz Ahmed (Bangladesh) and President of BVMW Prof. Dr. h.c. Mario Ohoven – Picture by Embassy of Bangladesh to Germany. By H.E. Ambassador Imtiaz Ahmed, Head of Mission of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the Federal Republic of Germany. Women´s economic empowerment is an inevitable part of development discourse. Institutionalization of sustainable development process excluding women from the mainstream development programme is inconceivable and will not support sustainable economic growth. Existing sex ratio in the demographic structure of Bangladesh indicates that women comprise almost 50% of the total population and are an essential part of human resources. It is…

100 years since the end of the First World War and the current geopolitical situation

By Corneliu Pivariu. Motto: “Tomorrow has long ago became yesterday” –folk verse On 11th of November, 2018, Emmanuel Macron, the president of France delivered, at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, in front of more than 70 heads of state and government, a speech marking 100 years since the armistice which brought to an end the First World War and then, together with some of his counterparts,(one notable absence was the American president Donald Trump) and heads of international organisations (UN, UNESCO, OCDE, IMF, etc) signed a joint statement on the occasion of the first session of the Paris Peace…

Ending Starvation Crimes

By Wayne Jordash QC and Catriona Murdoch. The ‘F’ word is back in use, famines have returned. In 2017 the UN identified four situations of acute food insecurity that threatened famine or breached that threshold, in north-eastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. In December 2018 famine was formally declared across regions of Yemen. Starvation is also being used as a weapon of war in Syria. We have also seen how food and humanitarian aid is being manipulated, obstructed and politicised in the Gaza Strip and in Venezuela. Starvation Crimes – an umbrella term coined by Alex de Waal to…

Restitution of colonial art

Do colonial artefacts from 55 African countries have to be returned by museums in the Netherlands and beyond? If so, what is the (legal) basis for restitution? By Paul W.L. Russell, LL.M. Since the recent publication of a French report commissioned by the French President on the above question, France has made a modest start in returning colonial art from French museums. The debate on this matter has been underway for some time. The French President considered the “theft” of art from African countries “a crime against humanity”. This was the reason for him to return colonial art from French…

Buenos Aires: a green city of art, flavours and passion

Buenos Aires, the stylish and cosmopolitan capital of Argentina, has been a dream for millions of Europeans, mostly Italians, but also Spaniards, Germans, and French, as well as for a great number of South American people. Buenos Aires is also home to the world’s seventh-largest Jewish community, the largest in Latin America, with Jews starting to arrive in the country as early as the 16th century. Big waves of migration from Europe came before and after the great wars when people moved to the southernmost part of America to start a new life. Such migrations are still happening today, and…

Uzbekistan in the context of dynamic transformations

Dilyor Khakimov, Ambassador de Uzbekistan. Interview of H.E. Mr. Dilyor Khakimov, Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to Benelux countries.: “Our cooperation with Luxembourg has been quite active”.   By Adelin Remy. Mr. Ambassador, I understand that the economy of Uzbekistan has performed very well last year. What are the updated figures? In 2018, the GDP growth in Uzbekistan is expected at 5.2% and in 2019 at 5.4%. Inflation is to be at 16–17%, in 2019 13.5–15.5%, and in 2020 10–12%. Starting from 2021, annual inflation is expected to reach single-digit values. Over the last two years, Uzbekistan concluded agreements on…

Twinning Europe and Asia in Cyberspace, the EU Legislation, ASEAN and its transformative power

On the image Prof. Melda Kamil Ariadno. By Prof. Melda Kamil Ariadno and Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevicis. While our troposphere is dangerously polluted, one other space – that of intangible world, created by the interconnected technology– follows the same pattern:  cyberspace. Additionally, our cyberspace becomes increasingly brutalised by its rapid monetisation and weaponisation through mainly privacy erosion. How to protect effectively individuals and their fundamental human rights, and how to exercise a right for dignity and privacy? The EU now offers a model legislation to its Member States, and by its spill-over power to the similar supranational projects elsewhere (particularly…

Freedom, Sovereign Debt, Generational Accounting and other Myths

By Dr. Lu Wei. “How to draw the line between the recent and still unsettled EU/EURO crisis and Asia’s success story? Well, it might be easier than it seems: Neither Europe nor Asia has any alternative. The difference is that Europe well knows there is no alternative – and therefore is multilateral. Asia thinks it has an alternative – and therefore is strikingly bilateral, while stubbornly residing enveloped in economic egoism. No wonder that Europe is/will be able to manage its decline, while Asia is (still) unable to capitalize its successes. Asia clearly does not accept any more the lead…

Personnel: Statutory minimum wage

By Jan Dop, LL.M. As of 1 January 2019, the statutory gross minimum wage for employees 22 years and older that work full-time will be: € 1,615.80   per month € 372.90   per week € 74.58   per day Please be informed that the law regarding gross minimum wage is statutory law. Therefore, the gross minimum wage also applies to employment contracts with foreign employees that habitually perform their work in the Netherlands, even in case a choice of law has been made in the employment contract. Statutory youth minimum wage Age Percentage Per month Per week Per day 21…

Uzbekistan, now wide open to foreign investment

By Dr. Eugenio Matos Gomez. The First International Tourism Investment Forum took place in Tashkent between 19 & 20, November 2018. We had the opportunity to interview several important persons, including Mr. Abdulaziz Akkulov who was the Acting Chairman of the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Development of Tourism. He expects that Uzbekistan will double the number of tourists in 2019. Last year, 5.5million visited Uzbekistan, compared to 2.7 million in 2017. “This is a huge achievement for us”, he said during a short discussion we had with him on Nov. 19th. This country is a hidden gem in Asia. The…

US and Russia stances remain distant over the conflict in eastern Ukraine

By Guido Lanfranchi. Speaking with the press ahead of the November 11th elections in eastern Ukraine, Ambassador Kurt Volker, US. Special Representative for Ukraine, declared such elections as “wholly illegitimate.” In the same context, he announced a new round of US. sanctions against Russia over the country’s involvement in Ukraine. On November 8th, 2018, just a few days ahead of the November 11th elections in eastern Ukraine, the United States State Department decided to update the press on the situation in the country. Ambassador Kurt Volker, US. Special Representative for Ukraine, updated the press on Ukraine’s dire humanitarian situation, on…

Portugal Awarded “World’s Leading Tourist Destination 2018”

On the picture Évora, capital of Alentejo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. By Catherine van der Loos. During a gala black tie event held in the Pátio da Galéon western side of the Comércio Square in Lisbon a little more than a month ago, Portugal was honored with the “World’s Leading Tourist Destination 2018” award by the World Travel Awards. The event, one of the world’s most prestigious tourism and travel events in the industry, marked the end of the organization’s Silver Jubilee Grand Tour. During the December 1, 2018 awards ceremony, Turismo de Portugal   received two “World Travel Awards.” The…

Looking Ahead to 2019

By Tiberio Graziani. Inheritance of the 2018 transformative trends affecting 2019 The main transformative trends in 2018 that will affect next year will concern at least the following three different global and interconnected sectors: Economic & Financial Area; Security; Dismantling of the Old World Order. Economic & Financial Area Regarding the economic and financial area, it will be necessary to monitor the growing importance of advanced technologies and their applications in the production cycles of the most industrial nations. In the next year, we will face a sort of rationalization of these production processes that will profoundly change the evolution…

No Climate Change without a generational interval

The newly elected President of Costa Rica, one of the world’s youngest heads of state, 38-year-old former journalist Mr. Carlos Alvarado, has vowed to fully decarbonise the country’s economy and makes it the first carbon-neutral nation in the world by 2021, on the 200th anniversary of its independence. “Decarbonisation is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first,” Alvarado said in his inauguration speech of 2018. “We have the titanic and beautiful task of abolishing the use of fossil fuels in our…