Dutch MPs back Afghan mission
3 February 2006, AMSTERDAM - The decision by Dutch MPs to approve the controversial military mission to Afghanistan has been welcomed by the US and Nato.
3 February 2006
AMSTERDAM - The decision by Dutch MPs to approve the controversial military mission to Afghanistan has been welcomed by the US and Nato.
An official at the US embassy in The Hague told 'RTL' news the decision was "brave and shrewd".
Washington and Nato have been pressuring the Netherlands in the last few months to agree to send 1,200 to 1,400 troops to the the southern province of Uruzgan as part of a Nato-led mission.
Nato boss, Dutchman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, has also signalled the Dutch parliament did the right thing. De Hoop Scheffer indicated via his spokesperson that the decision to back the mission was an "important and welcome step".
He was able to release this comment before the vote late on Thursday, as it was clear from Wednesday the deployment had majority support in the Dutch parliament.
Despite months of fretting about the dangers and usefulness of the mission, a large majority of MPs voted in favour on Thursday.
The small coalition party D66 and the left-wing opposition parties GroenLinks and the Socialist Party voted against the mission. One member of the main opposition party, Labour (PvdA), broke ranks and also voted against.
The coalition cabinet is due to formally ratify the decision on Friday. The deployment will begin in August.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news