February 22, 2019
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European Union

Dutch foreign minister resigns after lying about meeting with Russia's Putin

 Halbe Zijlstra arrives for the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, Belgium, Nov. 24, 2017. EPA-EFE FILE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

Halbe Zijlstra arrives for the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, Belgium, Nov. 24, 2017. EPA-EFE FILE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

The Hague, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- The Netherlands' foreign affairs minister on Tuesday presented his resignation to parliament after acknowledging that he lied about having met with the President of Russia.

Halbe Zijlstra had previously claimed he had attended a meeting with Vladimir Putin in 2006 in which the Russian leader had reportedly described his expansionist ambitions to annex territories and recover a "greater Russia."

"I should not have done that and I regret it immensely," he said.

The Dutch politician had in fact spoken with a former chief of the oil company Shell who was present at the Putin meeting but had not relayed the words that the president had allegedly spoken.

Zijlstra, who was named to his post in Oct., is a member of Prime Minister Mark Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

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