Princess Calls for Peace Talks with al-Qaeda

A quote from Princess Irene, a sister of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, in the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, 8 October 2005

The leaders of the Western governments must take the first step. They must talk to al-Qaeda and thus show that the classic stereotype of the enemy can be shattered with truly open negotiations. If you do not give your enemy a chance nothing will ever change. There is so much to discuss between the leaders of al-Qaeda and the West. If they think that killing is necessary, there is so much to win [by talking]. Try to meet each other. It has to do with poverty, distorted proportions and balances. Trade barriers must be pulled down. The differences between the haves and the have nots are totally out of balance. [...] We should stop seeking refuge behind our own truth. Avoiding contact with others because they are wrong. That will not get us anywhere. Peace negotiations are the only way out. [...]

I do not know president Bush personally. My impression of him is that this is his usual behaviour. He personifies the old leadership: I know better than you, I am going to dominate you, full stop. But this could be the moment to say: surely we do not all want to go that far? This is excessive behaviour. Stop! This is the moment to sit down and negotiate. But that is just what did not happen after 9/11. You could see conflicts escalate everywhere. It is a scary development. In the public debate that followed it was questioned whether this approach was the correct one. For me it definitely is not. People have become aware. The criticism of the United States is, I think, also educational: we have begun to think for ourselves and are no longer prepared to blindly follow the leader.