Dutch PM calls Hitler bomb plot "milestone"

21st July 2004, Comments 0 comments

21 July 2004, BERLIN - Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, in Berlin on the 60th anniversary of a bid to kill Adolf Hitler, called the assassination attempt a "milestone" in European history.

21 July 2004

BERLIN - Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, in Berlin on the 60th anniversary of a bid to kill Adolf Hitler, called the assassination attempt a "milestone" in European history.

Speaking at ceremonies honouring German Wehrmacht officers who were executed for their part in the plot against Hitler, Balkenende said it was "an absolute honour" to be able to speak at such an occasion.

He pointed to the 20 July 1944 bid to kill the Nazi leader as a milestone on the path to united Europe.

"It is an event from a dark period when those in power rejected any idea of peaceful cooperation and this is what makes the moral meaning even deeper," said Balkenende.

Balkenende, whose country assumed the rotating European Union presidency on 1 July, was in Berlin for talks with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.  

Against the backdrop of historical enmity between their two nations, the two leaders pledged friendly relations and closer trade and political ties. They also urged speedy ratification of the EU draft constitution.

Schroeder announced that the German navy will purchase eight Orion aerial surveillance aircraft from the Dutch ministry of defence for EUR 295 million.

The vintage 1981 aircraft will undergo upgrades involving more than EUR 20 million apiece, the chancellor said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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