Badhon : The Dutch foreign affairs minister resigned Tuesday, a day after admitting that he lied about attending a meeting hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin more than a decade ago. Halbe Zijlstra called it ‘by far the biggest mistake I have committed in my entire career.’ (Bloomberg) On Monday, Zijlstra conceded he wasn’t present at the meeting but heard the story from somebody who was. He said he considered Putin’s statements so geopolitically important that he spoke about them publicly and took credit for hearing the comments as a way of protecting his source. Zijlstra’s position as the country’s top diplomat became untenable after he admitted lying about a meeting with Putin. Zijlstra has in the past said he attended a 2006 meeting when Putin said he considered Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic states as part of a ‘Greater Russia.’Zijlstra, a member of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right VVD party, is the first minister to quit since Rutte’s four-party coalition took office in October. Rutte, who was also in Parliament for Zijlstra’s resignation, hugged him as he left.
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