In the Netherlands Antilles, during the year that is behind us, the foundation was laid for several positive developments in the coming years. In harmonious discussions with the Netherlands and Aruba, and subsequent to the desire expressed by the people of all five islands of the Netherlands Antilles in referendums, the groundwork was laid for the political restructuring of our Kingdom. Curaçao and St. Maarten will become autonomous countries, next to the Netherlands and Aruba, within the Kingdom, and Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will become Kingdom Islands, a new concept that is still to be further defined. The realization of this new structure of the Dutch Kingdom is targeted for mid-2007 and much work remains to give concrete form to the funda- mental agreements that were reached in late 2005. A true commitment by all to realizing this political restructuring will be in the interest of the future of the peoples of our islands.
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