|American warships in Caribbean harbors again|
|Wednesday, 24 October 2012 14:48|
PHILIPSBURG — The United States and the Netherlands signed an agreement on Friday that makes American military training and other activities in the Caribbean Netherlands possible again.
The American Assistant State Secretary for Political Military Affairs, Andrew J. Shapiro, and the Dutch Ambassador Rudolf Bekink signed a new ‘Status of Forces Agreement (Sofa)’ between the United States and the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the Department of State on October 19.
The five-year agreement is based on the success of the agreement of 2005 and makes participation of American military personnel with communal drills and training, visits of American Navy vessels, and other collaboration activities with the Royal Dutch Military troops on Aruba, St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba possible. Curaçao is currently not included in the agreement but could join at a later stage.
The new Sofa illustrates how the strong ties between the United States and the Kingdom of the Netherlands in a strategic important region supports the communal safety interests and how these will contribute significantly to the local economies.
The agreement already paid rewards for the islands. An article in The Washington Post last Monday advises vacationers to pack their suitcases for a visit to Aruba, St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. The article reports that the picturesque destinations are all included in the new agreement.
The Post elaborates on the name of the agreement and the comical abbreviation Sofa and then explains it regards one of the agreements that make it possible for the overseas American military troops to be legally present ‘where they are’. The Sofa is perhaps the best way to bring two countries closer to one another.
“We offer our voluntary services in the region, which the State Department considers strategically important, (while we view this region as an excellent holiday destination). Could we perhaps be given an assignment for January? Meanwhile, we’ll unravel this Sofa in search for arrangements for drinks under the parasol”, according to the reaction from The Washington Post.