Dutch PM 'disappointed' after Britain denies MP entry

14th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende phoned his counterpart Gordon Brown Friday to express disappointment after a far-right Dutch politician was denied entry into Britain, a spokesman said.

THE HAGUE - "The prime minister asked Mr Brown to give attention to this grave matter which has led to many questions being asked in the Netherlands," said Henk Brons.

Brons said it was not an official protest but rather "contact at the highest level to inform the British government what the Netherlands thinks about this matter."

Balkenende expressed "disappointment" and "dissatisfaction", his office said.

On Thursday, the foreign ministry said it regretted the British decision to refuse entry to Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who faces trial at home for inciting hatred against Muslims.

Wilders, 45, leads the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), which has nine seats in the 150-member parliament. He had been invited by members of the House of Lords to screen his controversial film, 'Fitna," and join a debate on freedom of speech.

He flew to Heathrow Thursday despite being warned by British authorities that he would be refused entry for posing a "genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat." Wilders was briefly detained on arrival, and put on a plane back.

His 17-minute film, which likens Islam to Nazism and links the religion to terror attacks, has been described as "offensively anti-Islamic" by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and has spawned widespread protests.


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