Dutch MPs against extending Iraq mission
3 November 2004AMSTERDAM — A majority in the Dutch Parliament is against keeping the country's troops in Iraq after the scheduled pull out in March 2005.
3 November 2004
AMSTERDAM — A majority in the Dutch Parliament is against keeping the country's troops in Iraq after the scheduled pull out in March 2005.
Foreign Minister Ben Bot tried on Monday to keep the door open to an extension of the mission, but only one MP of one of the three coalition parties have backed his stance.
MPs of Bot's own Christian Democrat CDA party — also the party of Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende — have said only a very short extension to the mission was thinkable if there were "exceptional circumstances", newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
MPs of the Liberal VVD coalition partner have indicated they are willing to discuss an extension, but Defence Minister Henk Kamp (VVD) has emphasised repeatedly that the troops will come home in March.
The Netherlands has 1,350 troops on stabilisation duties in southern Iraq.
The smallest government party, Democrat D66, has aligned itself with the left-wing Labour PvdA, Socialist Party and the green-left GroenLinks in opposing an extension. The populist LPF is also taking the same view.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news, Iraq