The US did ask the Netherlands to lend military support to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and this resulted in high-level discussions, the Parool reported on Thursday.
‘There was absolutely a request for military support,’ the paper quotes former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage as saying. ‘We sent official documents and we sent diplomats to the Netherlands.’
Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who was also premier at the time of the war, has always denied that the US made an official request for help.
Armitage told the Parool there could be no doubt about Washington’s intentions. ‘We were only after military help. We thought the Iraqis would welcome us with flowers and that we could leave quickly. And that is what we told our allies,’ the paper quoted him as saying.
The Netherlands eventually gave political as opposed to military support to the war.
According to the Parool, the Netherlands was rewarded for its backing. For example, Armitage saw to it that the country did not face sanctions for its role in human trafficking to the US.
And the Dutch position on Iraq helped the nomination of the country’s foreign minister at the time, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, as secretary general of Nato, the paper says.
The Dutch government is under increasing pressure to agree to a parliamentary inquiry into events surrounding Dutch support for the Iraq war.
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