The joke about the Dutch FM who met Putin

Dutch Leader Survives Confidence Vote After Minister Admits Lying About Putin Meeting

Dutch foreign minister quits after lying about Putin meeting

DUTCH foreign minister, Halbe Zijlstra, has admitted publicly to lying about his attendance at a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Lawmakers also grilled Rutte, who had previously defended Zijlstra despite having known since late January that he had made up the story about Putin.

The resignation came a day after Zijlastre told reporters that he had lied about being present at a meeting in which Putin laid out plans for a "greater Russia" that would include Belarus, Ukraine, the Baltic states and possibly Kazakhstan.

"I told an untruth, it was unacceptable", said Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra, just before departing for his first visit to Russian Federation as a member of the Dutch government, where he is due to meet his counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

'The Netherlands deserve a foreign minister who would not cause any doubts, ' he said.

Opposition legislators who were outraged about Zijlstra's deception had offered a rare no-confidence motion in the lower house of parliament, but it was strongly rejected by 101-43.

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The story was questioned by the newspaper Volkskrant, however, which discovered from Zijlstra's colleagues that he had not been at the 2006 business meeting in Russian Federation, despite being part of the Shell delegation. I told a lie. I was tucked away back in the room, but I could clearly hear Putin's answer to the question about what he considered Greater Russia.

Zijlstra's appointment in October raised eyebrows in The Netherlands because of his perceived lack of diplomatic credentials.

'I think he is credible because there is no dispute about the content of the story, ' Rutte said.

Buma said however his party continued to support Zijlstra and would like to see him "return by the end of the week and simply continue with his job".

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

Among other things, Zijlstra is due to discuss with Lavrov the Dutch-led probe into the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014.

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