Halbe Zijlstra has admitted that he lied about him being present at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He handed in his resignation at a hastily-called session of parliament, hours before his planned official trip to Moscow.
Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra has announced his resignation before members of parliament, noting that it was a mistake to lie about his presence at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2006 and about the words he alleged that Putin said.
Zijlstra earlier claimed that he overheard Putin saying Belorussia, Ukraine, Baltic and Kazakhstan are all parts of the “Great Russia”. In his latest interview with Volkskrant newspaper, he said he never attended the meeting, but was forced to lie in order to protect the man, who told him this story and actually participated in the event.
“I made a wrong choice, I shouldn’t have done that […] I see no other option today than to hand in my resignation to his majesty the King,” said Zijlstra in front of MPs
Russian Foreign Ministry’s Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova earlier told Sputnik, Moscow still expects Zijlstra’s visit.
“We have no changes. Moscow is expecting the foreign minister of the Netherlands on a visit,” Zakharova said.