8 November 2013, 10:10

Russian president and Dutch king to meet in Moscow to discuss attacks on two countries' diplomats and Greenpeace case

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in the Kremlin on Friday, Putin's press service has announced.

 

The Dutch king and his wife Queen Maxima are expected to arrive in Moscow on Friday evening to attend a ceremony to close the Russia-Netherlands Bilateral Year.

King Willem Alexander is coming to Moscow at a difficult time in Russian-Dutch relations, which have witnessed attacks on the two countries' diplomats in Moscow and the Hague over the past few months, as well as the situation concerning the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise.

The crewmembers of the Dutch-flagged vessel Arctic Sunrise owned by the Greenpeace were detained in the Pechora Sea on September 19 for an attempt to stage a protest against the Prirazlomnaya oil platform's drilling operations.

The coast guard towed the Arctic Sunrise to Murmansk on September 24.

It had a multinational crew of 30, including four Russians. All of them were arrested and charged with piracy.

On October 4, the Netherlands requested that the actions taken by Russia in relation to the Arctic Sunrise crew be assessed by international arbitration.

On October 21, the Netherlands filed an official request with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), demanding the release of the vessel, its crewmembers and the Greenpeace activists who were aboard the vessel at the time of the incident.

Among the detainees are two citizens of the Netherlands.

On October 7, Dutch policemen forcibly entered the apartment of Russian Minister-Counselor to the Netherlands Dmitry Borodin, subdued him and took him to a police station, where he was held for several hours, based on a report that the children in Borodin's family had been mistreated.

On October 16, unidentified men broke into the apartment of the Dutch Minister Plenipotentiary in Moscow Onno Elderenbosch, beat him up and restrained him.

Two days later, a building in The Hague housing Russian Embassy staff was robbed.

The building is located near the Russian Embassy, but it does not carry diplomatic status.

These events prompted calls from the Dutch Parliament to cancel the king's visit to Russia.

However, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed during a telephone conversation with Putin on October 21 that the king's visit to Russia would take place.

Russian and Dutch foreign ministers to meet on November 9

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to meet with his Dutch counterpart Frans Timmermans in Moscow on Saturday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

The meeting "will understandably also address sensitive topics that have cropped up in our bilateral relations recently," Lukashevich said at a press briefing in Moscow on Friday.

Timmermans will come to Russia within the delegation accompanying King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, he said.

The Russian and Dutch foreign ministers will also discuss the prospects for further promoting bilateral ties, he added.

On October 7, Dutch policemen forcibly entered the apartment of Russian Minister-Counselor to the Netherlands Dmitry Borodin, subdued him and took him to a police station, where he was held for several hours, based on a report that the children in Borodin's family had been mistreated.

The Dutch authorities subsequently offered an official apology to Russia for this breach of international law, but refused to punish the policemen who detained Borodin.

On October 16, unidentified men broke into the apartment of the Dutch Minister Plenipotentiary in Moscow Onno Elderenbosch, beat him up and restrained him.

The Russian authorities opened a criminal inquiry into the incident.

Two days later, a building in The Hague housing Russian Embassy staff was robbed.

The building is located near the Russian Embassy, but it does not carry diplomatic status.

Voice of Russia, Interfax

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