- Associated Press - Friday, July 12, 2019

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is visiting U.S. President Donald Trump next week, amid reports that the Netherlands is considering an American request to help protect shipping in the Persian Gulf.

The Dutch government announced Friday that Rutte will visit Trump at the White House next Thursday to discuss bilateral relations, international trade and defense and security cooperation.

Last month, acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said after a meeting in Brussels that NATO allies gave him no firm commitments that they will participate in a global effort to secure international waterways against threats from Iran.

Since then, Dutch media, citing unnamed sources, have reported that the government in The Hague is considering sending a frigate to the Gulf. The government has not confirmed the reports.

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