Dutch defense minister Ank Bijleveld told a Dutch television program that she “understands” the reasons behind the US assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
She went on to say that, though understandable, there needs to be a focus on “de-escalation” in the region. “The Dutch effort is completely focused on de-escalation,” Bijleveled told Op1. Yesterday, Bijleveld, defense minister Stef Blok and foreign trade minister Sigrid Kaag told Dutch MPs in a letter that Iran was causing instability in the region, but still asking the US to explain its reasoning and legal basis behind the assassination. Up until now, the US has claimed the assassination was an act of self-defense, offering few additional details.
For the time being, the Dutch focus on the incident will be to “emphasise the negative influence Iran has on regional stability and focus on the importance of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. This comes after the Dutch defense ministry has halted military training operations throughout Baghdad.