World Dutch Foreign Minister Resigns After Lying About Russia Meeting
Russia says it has measures it can take against the U.S.: Izvestia
Russia still has counter measures it can take against the United States in a tit-for-tat sanctions battle, but is keeping its powder dry for now, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Izvestia newspaper in an interview published on Monday. With relations strained over Syria, Ukraine and U.S. allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, something Moscow denies, ties between the two countries have slid to a post-Cold War low.The U.S.
(Bloomberg) -- Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra quit his post after admitting he lied about attending a 2006 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, stepping down the same day he had been scheduled to travel to Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart.
The politician, a member of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberal VVD party, announced his resignation in The Hague on Tuesday at the start of a debate where members of parliament wanted to question him. Zijlstra said he doesn’t want to burden his position, saying the way he handled the matter was the “biggest mistake” in his career.
Australian deputy prime minister under pressure to resign
Australia's deputy prime minister was under mounting pressure Wednesday to resign as his party's leader over revelations of a relationship with a former staffer. Newspapers revealed last week that Barnaby Joyce and his former media adviser are expecting a baby together, and the scandal has angered many within Joyce's conservative, rural-based Nationals party. As leader of the junior party in the governing coalition, Joyce is both the deputy prime minister and acting prime minister when the prime minister is overseas.
Zijlstra, who became foreign affairs minister in October, is the first member of the current cabinet to leave. His departure constitutes a major embarrassment to Rutte, a little over 100 days into his third cabinet and just over a month before municipal elections that are seen as a gauge of the government’s popularity. During Rutte’s second cabinet, his team saw seven forced departures -- including five of the VVD.
As VVD leader in parliament, Zijlstra had said publicly in 2016 that he was at a meeting at Putin’s dacha, saying the president had spoken about his Great Russia aspirations, according to Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. On Monday, Zijlstra admitted to that newspaper he didn’t attend the meeting, adding he had borrowed the story to protect the source who was at the gathering. On Tuesday, De Volkskrant said that source was former Royal Dutch Shell Plc CEO Jeroen van der Veer, who told the newspaper Zijlstra had misinterpreted the comments.
Israel's Netanyahu says government coalition remains stable
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that his coalition government remained stable and would continue to govern despite police recommendations that he be indicted for bribery. "I want to reassure you, the coalition is stable. No one, not I, not anyone else, has plans to go to an election. We will continue to work with you for the good of Israel's citizens until the end of the term," Netanyahu said in a televised speech.The final decision to indict is not with the police, rather with Israel's Attorney General. His decision could take weeks or months.
Forming his third coalition government took Rutte, who will turn 51 tomorrow, more than 220 days as the March 2017 general election left the country’s political landscape splintered. Most parties refused to consider an alliance with Geert Wilders’s anti-Islam Freedom Party, which came in second after Rutte’s VVD party, triggering the long search for an alternative coalition.
The Netherlands has informed Russia about the cancellation of Zijlstra’s trip, RIA Novosti reported, citing the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The relationship between the Netherlands and Russia has been strained since the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard. Dutch media had reported that one of the topics on the agenda of the now-canceled meeting had been MH17.
Russia has characterized Zijlstra’s statements about Putin and "Great Russia" as “fake news” and part of a campaign to portray the country as an aggressor.
--With assistance from Torrey Clark and Ksenia Galouchko
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Vidya Root at [email protected], Kevin Costelloe, Mark Williams
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.
Saudi Arabia welcomes push for U.N. action against Iran on missiles .
<p>Saudi Arabia on Sunday welcomed a draft United Nations resolution offered by Britain, the United States and France that would condemn Iran for failing to stop its ballistic missiles from falling into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi group.</p>Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Reuters the measure, if passed, would help hold Iran accountable for what he described as its "exports of ballistic missiles" to the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, and "radical and aggressive" behavior in the region, including support for terrorist groups.
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