clear
Thursday August 16th, 2018 2:17AM

Dutch foreign minister quits after lying about Putin meeting

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch foreign affairs minister resigned Tuesday, a day after admitting that he lied about attending a meeting hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin more than a decade ago.

An emotional Halbe Zijlstra announced his resignation at the start of a debate Tuesday at which he was expected to be grilled by opposition lawmakers about the lie. He called it "by far the biggest mistake I have committed in my entire career."

"This is about the credibility of the minister of foreign affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands," Zijlstra said. "That credibility must be beyond doubt."

Zijlstra, a member of Prime Minister Mark Rutte's center-right VVD party, is the first minister to quit since Rutte's four-party coalition took office in October. Rutte, who was also in Parliament for Zijlstra's resignation, hugged him as he left.

Zijlstra's position as the country's top diplomat became untenable after he admitted lying about a meeting with Putin.

Zijlstra has in the past said he attended a 2006 meeting when Putin said he considered Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic states as part of a "Greater Russia."

On Monday, Zijlstra conceded he wasn't present at the meeting but heard the story from somebody who was. He said he considered Putin's statements so geopolitically important that he spoke about them publicly and took credit for hearing the comments as a way of protecting his source.

"It was clearly a wrong choice," Zijlstra said as he announced his resignation.

The Russian embassy in the Netherlands waded into the debate by issuing a statement accusing some in the Netherlands of distributing "fake news" aimed at discrediting Moscow by suggesting it has expansionist ambitions.

"This can only be heard from those who are interested in presenting Russia as an enemy and who under the pretext of the notorious 'Russian threat' keep pushing NATO military infrastructure eastwards, therefore consciously provoking military confrontation," the Russian statement said.

Zijlstra's resignation came a day before he was due to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow.

There was no immediate announcement about a replacement.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump prods Congress amid debate on immigration
Trump is telling Congress it's now or never on immigration as the Senate tries to forge a deal
12:03PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Porter's ex-wife pushes back against Kellyanne Conway
Colbie Holderness, the first wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, pushed back on recent comments made by counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway that seemed to suggest strong women can't be victims of domestic violence
12:02PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Dutch foreign minister quits after lying about Putin meeting
Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Halbe Zijlstra has resigned, a day after admitting that he lied about attending a meeting hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin at his country retreat more than a decade ago
12:00PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
UK judge upholds arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder
A British judge on Tuesday upheld an arrest warrant for Julian Assange, saying the WikiLeaks founder should have the courage to come to court and face justice after more than five years inside Ecuador's London embassy
11:31AM ( 50 minutes ago )
Serbian leader won't apologize for wartime nationalism
Serbia's president refused to apologize during a Tuesday visit to Croatia for his nationalist wartime rhetoric calling for a "Greater Serbia" that would include large parts of Croatia
11:29AM ( 52 minutes ago )
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle visit Scotland ahead of wedding
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are continuing their pre-wedding tour of Britain with a quick trip to Scotland
11:26AM ( 55 minutes ago )
AP World News
Trump prods Congress amid debate on immigration
Trump is telling Congress it's now or never on immigration as the Senate tries to forge a deal
12:03PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Porter's ex-wife pushes back against Kellyanne Conway
Colbie Holderness, the first wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, pushed back on recent comments made by counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway that seemed to suggest strong women can't be victims of domestic violence
12:02PM ( 19 minutes ago )
US intel officials say Russia targeting midterms
Three of the nation's top intelligence officials say the U.S. has seen Russian activity aimed at meddling in the upcoming midterm elections
11:55AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Experts: What states can do to secure their elections
Experts: What states can do to secure their elections
11:51AM ( 30 minutes ago )
Porter ex-wife: abuse victims aren't weak
Colbie Holderness, the first wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, pushed back on recent comments made by counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway suggesting that strong women can't be victims of domestic violence
11:50AM ( 31 minutes ago )