Bos hints Afghan mission is back on track
31 January 2006 , AMSTERDAM — The opposition Labour Party (PvdA) was edging closer to Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende on Tuesday in the debate on the controversial military mission to Afghanistan.
31 January 2006
AMSTERDAM — The opposition Labour Party (PvdA) was edging closer to Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende on Tuesday in the debate on the controversial military mission to Afghanistan.
The Netherlands is under pressure from the US, Nato and the UN to provide 1,200 to 1,400 troops to a mission to the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan. For weeks Dutch MPs have put off taking a final decision, with many concerned about the dangers and usefulness of the mission.
The coalition government in The Hague, with the possible exception of the two ministers of minority partner D66, are in favour of the mission. Parliament is more divided. The support of the PvdA would appear to guarantee the deployment will go ahead.
PvdA leader Wouter Bos was positive about the debate on Tuesday. "We have a number of demands and the cabinet has moved in the right direction recently," he said.
The party's ultimate decision will not be known until Tuesday. "(Seeing) the report from the military intelligence service (MIVD) and the hearing (in parliament) makes it easier to judge. There is movement in the right direction."
Bos admitted that some of his MPs were still not happy, but there would not be a free vote on the issue.
MPs of the D66 party have been the strongest opponents of the mission and this has threatened the stability of the coalition with the Christian Democrats and Liberals.
However, D66 leader Boris Dittrich indicated this week the party did not want to collapse the government and leave the Netherlands "at the mercy of Wouter Bos".
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news