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Dutch FM resigns after lying about Putin meeting

Updated February 14, 2018

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DUTCH Minister of Foreign Affairs Halbe Zijlstra.—AFP
DUTCH Minister of Foreign Affairs Halbe Zijlstra.—AFP

THE HAGUE: New Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra resigned on Tuesday, after admitting he had lied about his presence at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I see no other option today than to hand in my resignation to his majesty the King,” a tearful Zijlstra told MPs in a hastily-called session of parliament.

Stepping down, Zijlstra told MPs on Tuesday that the credibility of the country’s foreign minister must be “beyond doubt, both inside and outside of the country”.

His resignation came after his claims to have attended a meeting 12 years ago with Putin in his dacha which included Jeroen van der Veer, Shell’s former chief executive were revealed on Monday to be false.

“I have spoken about an incident of great importance, saying I was there in person, while that was not the case. I wanted to tell this story convincingly... I should not have done it. I am sorry.”

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2018