Dutch PM overwhelmingly survives vote of no-confidence

Dutch PM overwhelmingly survives vote of no-confidence

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.

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.

"This is by far the biggest mistake I have made in my career", he admitted to Dutch politicians in the lower house of parliament, watched by Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Zijlstra was supposed to fly to Russia later on Tuesday for a meeting with his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.

They had been due to discuss among other things the 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 shot down by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

'I thought it was a sin, but not a deadly sin, ' Rutte said.

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The tragedy in which all 298 people on board died, majority Dutch , has soured ties, and led to accusations that Moscow is not presenting all the evidence it has to a Dutch-led criminal inquiry.

Before the debate in The Hague, Dutch opposition parties were questioning his credibility and argued Zijlstra could no longer function as foreign affairs minister.

For years, Zjilstra claimed he had personally overheard Putin during a meeting in Moscow speaking of a "Greater Russia" that included Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic states.

"I wanted to tell this story convincingly without revealing my source, it was obviously the wrong choice. Dutch officials are constantly making such unfounded statements", it said in a statement. According to Wilders, it is unacceptable that the prime minister, who is at the helm of a very fragile coalition, has not informed MPs of the scandal with the foreign minister.

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