Dutch Speaker And Parliamentary Party Leaders Visit EU Naval Force Warship HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën During A Visit To AfricaJuly 14, 2014 - 09:57
The Speaker and leaders of the political parties of the Dutch House of Representatives made a working visit to the Royal Netherlands Navy frigate, HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën, at sea off the coast of Tanzania. They visitors were accompanied by the Netherlands Chief of Defence, General Tom Middendorp.
During the visit the Members of Parliament were given a briefing about the warship’s deployment as part of EU’s counter-piracy Operation Atalanta.
Speaking about the visit, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Anouchka van Miltenburg, stated “The work done by Dutch military personnel and their international colleagues commands respect and is important for the region, as well as for the Netherlands. We are impressed by the professionalism of our men and women.”
After the commanding officer of De Zeven Provinciën, Commander Ruud Schoonen, welcomed the visitors on board, they spent two days at sea, with the warship’s crew giving the MPs a comprehensive picture of the mission and how it is being conducted.
Various demonstrations were provided by the Dutch crew as well as by members of the other services, including the embarked Maltese boarding team. These demonstrations addressed all of the aspects of a counter-piracy mission, and also included a highly realistic exercise in which the ship and its crew had to defend themselves against attacks by aircraft and submarines.
Another item on the programme was a brief on the embarked NH90 helicopter. The MPs were also able to have a clear picture of what life is like on board an air-defence and command frigate. “It is good to see and hear for myself how and under what conditions our military personnel do their jobs. That is important for our job in Parliament.” said the Speaker of the House Anouchka van Miltenburg.
Prior to their visit to the frigate, the Speaker and the MPs had met with the Speaker of the Tanzanian Parliament, Mrs Anne Semamba Makinda, in Dar es Salaam. The topics discussed included Tanzania’s relations with the Netherlands and current developments in the areas of politics and government. The Speaker of the Parliament of Tanzania also gave an explanation of the most important challenges faced by her country. She expressed her gratitude for the Netherlands’ involvement and support in meeting these challenges. Van Miltenburg thanked her counterpart for her openness and invited Tanzanian MPs to visit the Netherlands to exchange ideas and experiences.
In addition to Mrs Van Miltenburg, the members of the delegation were: Halbe Zijlstra (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy), Diederik Samsom (Labour Party), Emile Roemer (Socialist Party), Sybrand van Haersma Buma (Christian Democratic Appeal), Alexander Pechtold (Democrats ’66), Arie Slob (Christian Union), Bram van Ojik (Green Left) en Kees van der Staaij (Reformed Policital Party). The other leaders of political parties in the House of Representatives were, for various reasons, unable to take part in the working visit. The delegation left Schiphol airport for Tanzania on Monday 7 July and returned to the Netherlands on Friday 11th July.
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