The Netherlands has emerged as a major defender of oil giant Shell in the latest batch of leaked US diplomatic cables.
RTL claims the government refused to back some UN resolutions if they would hinder Shell’s operations. For example, UN sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear activities did hit British firms, the news channel says. ‘But the Netherlands wanted an exemption for Shell.’
RTL says the cables show how far the Netherlands was prepared to go to defend Shell’s interests and points out that financial firms such as ABN Amro were forced to pay fines for doing business there.
‘Shell is the biggest Dutch multinational with an equal influence on Dutch foreign economic policy,’ one US diplomat is quoted as saying by Nos tv.
Shell has so far not commented on the claims, RTL says.
The foreign affairs ministry stresses the cables were drawn up by US officials but declined to make any further comments.
The cables also show a foreign affairs ministry civil servant is on loan to Shell, a situation which the oil firm told RTL is part of a normal exchange of expertise between industry and the public sector.
According to the Financieele Dagblad, Shell’s head office in The Hague is nicknamed the ‘real ministry of economic affairs’ and the revelations from the cables are no real surprise.
Editors note: the cables are not yet on line so we have been unable to link to them or verify the claims.
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