The Minister of foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Halbe Zijlstra on Tuesday resigned after he admitted he lied about his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Zijlstra announced his resignation just a few hours before should be to go to Moscow with official visit.
On his decision the Minister said at the Parliament session, which was attended by deputies for questioning, and then was unable to hide the tears.
During his election campaign in March 2017 Zijlstra claimed that in 2006 he personally heard Putin spoke about the plans of regional expansion and the creation of a “greater Russia”. According to the Financial Times, while Zijlstra worked under contract with the energy group Shell.
On Monday this week the Minister admitted in an interview with a Dutch newspaper that lied and actually was not present in the room where Putin allegedly made an appropriate comment. According to Zijlstra, so he tried only to protect his source of information – the person who was in the room where came the words of the Russian President.
On Wednesday, announcing his resignation, the politician admitted that he had made the biggest mistake in his political career, and said he did not want to cast aspersions on the Ministry, as the Netherlands deserve a Minister who “would be above any suspicion – both at home and abroad.”
“In the circumstances, I see no other choice but to give His Majesty my resignation,” – said the Minister, in whose eyes stood tears.
However, admitting that he behaved stupidly, Zijlstra continues to insist that Putin actually said such words.
The Russian Embassy in the Netherlands released a statement which says that the words Zijlstra “does not stand up to scrutiny and is aimed solely at the spread of a wrong idea about the true intentions” of Moscow.
Zijlstra he served as Minister of foreign Affairs of the Netherlands only the last four months, but he is a close ally of Prime Minister Mark Rutte and helped him last year to form a bipartisan coalition.
After it became clear that the Prime Minister himself found out the truth a few weeks ago, but did not disclose this to the Parliament, the deputies put to the vote the question of confidence in Rutte, however, a vote of no confidence was announced.
“Lying is a sin but not a mortal sin,” said the Premier, adding that in fact the statement of the foreign Minister are true.
“If you look at what Russia is doing in the last 10-15 years, the policies that it holds, you will be forced to admit that this policy is aimed at expansion,” said Rutte.