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

China
China's powerful new vice president to visit Russia, Belarus

China's powerful new vice president, Wang Qishan, will visit Russia and Belarus starting this week, China's foreign ministry said on Monday, his first overseas trip since being appointed in March. Wang, 69, a key ally of President Xi Jinping and China's one-time top graft buster, should have retired last year during a leadership reshuffle of the ruling Communist Party, but Xi has kept him on to add extra heft to Chinese diplomacy.

Russia Is Reaping the Benefits of Israel's Actions in Syria
Russia Is Reaping the Benefits of Israel's Actions in Syria

For Putin, the path to consolidating his Syrian achievements may lie in an agreement with Israel that further solidifies Russia's status. Russian president Vladimir Putin further cemented his position atop the Syrian power pyramid as a result of Israel's massive air campaign that targeted Iran's positions and Assad's air defenses.

Russian
Russian 'dirty money' flowing through London damages Britain: UK lawmakers
  • World
  • 2018-05-20 23:12:14Z

By William James LONDON (Reuters) - Russian money hidden in British assets and laundered through City of London financial institutions damages the government's efforts to take a tough stance against Moscow's aggressive foreign policy, a committee of lawmakers said on Monday. Britain's financial

Trump: 'Real Americans' Should Get 'Tough' On Russia Probe
Trump: 'Real Americans' Should Get 'Tough' On Russia Probe

President Donald Trump attacked the credibility of special counsel Robert

British-based academic and FBI informant 'approached Trump campaign advisers about Russia ties before election'
British-based academic and FBI informant 'approached Trump campaign advisers about Russia ties before election'

A British-based US academic approached Donald Trump campaign figures before the 2016 election to investigate suspected Russia links for the FBI, according to American newspapers.  The New York Times and The Washington Post have both reported that the US informant made the approaches as suspicions rose in American intelligence community.  Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, two Trump campaign foreign policy advisers, were both reportedly approached by the professor.  Sam Clovis, the Trump campaign co-chairman, also met the academic for coffee in the summer of 2016, according to The Washington Post.  Both papers said they had identified the academic but chose not to name them in  public....

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.