Dutch minister to face parliament over false Putin claim




  • In World
  • 2018-02-13 15:56:51Z
  • By Reuters
Russian President Putin attends a session at the Week of Russian Business, organized by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, in Moscow
Russian President Putin attends a session at the Week of Russian Business, organized by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, in Moscow  

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch government lurched toward political crisis on Tuesday as parliament ordered Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra to face questions for lying about witnessing Vladimir Putin outline a strategy for a greater Russia.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who has defended the minister despite having known since late January that Zijlstra had made up the story about Russia's president, was summoned to attend the session with lawmakers, set to begin at 1600 GMT.

Zijlstra admitted on Monday that he lied in 2016 when he said he had attended a meeting a decade earlier at which Putin reportedly spoke of plans for regional expansion.

He said he did not in fact attend the meeting but had heard second hand about the president's remarks - comments that led opposition parties to demand his resignation and that the Russian Embassy dismissed on Tuesday as "fake news".

Zijlstra is due to travel to Moscow for a previously scheduled meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday.

So far the governing parties, including the ruling Liberal VVD party, have stood by Zijlstra, but all parties have supported the call for him to appear in parliament, which has the power to dismiss him.

De Volkskrant reported on Tuesday that Zijlstra had misrepresented Putin's comments, citing an email from former Shell chief executive Jeroen van der Veer, who was at the meeting and the daily newspaper said was the source of the claim.

The Russian Embassy said in a statement that Zijlstra's allegations "do not hold up against any criticism and are only intended to spread false perceptions of Russia's intentions."

"Russia is being blamed for disseminating disinformation," the embassy said in a statement. "Dutch officials are constantly making such unfounded statements. ..Isn't this an example of fake news directed against our country?"

The dispute comes at bad time for the Dutch, who are preparing indictments against suspects in the downing in July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 with 196 Dutch citizens on board.

Dutch authorities have said the passenger airline was brought down by a Russian-made Buk missile, fired from territory held by pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine. Russia has denied this.

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and John Stonestreet)

COMMENTS

More Related News

UN Security Council to vote Friday on Syria ceasefire
UN Security Council to vote Friday on Syria ceasefire
  • World
  • 2018-02-23 09:57:13Z

The UN Security Council will vote Friday on a draft resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to allow for humanitarian aid and medical evacuations. A slightly amended text was circulated to council members late Thursday but it was unclear whether Russia would support the measure which has been

Russia's Su-57 Stealth Fighter in Syria: "This Is Testing in Actual War"
Russia's Su-57 Stealth Fighter in Syria: "This Is Testing in Actual War"

The most likely reason for the Russian deployment is to refine the Su-57 design for production and to gain as much operational wartime experience as possible. Russia appears to have deployed two prototype Sukhoi Su-57 PAK-FA fighters to its Khmemeim airbase in Syria. While the reports of the stealth fighters arriving in Syria are unconfirmed, it would be highly unusual to deploy a developmental asset into a combat zone before it is ready for war.

Russia's Man In The White House
Russia's Man In The White House

First, did a presidential candidate compromise our interests in exchange for electoral help from a foreign adversary?

The Latest: US: Assad planning to
The Latest: US: Assad planning to 'bomb or starve' opponents

BEIRUT (AP) - The Latest on Syria related developments (all times local):

Democrats want $300 million to fight possible Russia election tampering
Democrats want $300 million to fight possible Russia election tampering

By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic leaders called on Congress on Wednesday to give the Federal Bureau of Investigation $300 million to fight foreign efforts to interfere in congressional and state elections in November, amid growing concerns about potential Russian influence on the polls. Citing warnings from intelligence agencies that Russia is trying to influence the upcoming vote, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi asked that the additional funds be included in a bill to fund the government which Congress aims to pass by March 23.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: World

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.