Dutch support for Iraq invasion remains sore point
Dutch Labour Party leader Wouter Bos says he will "absolutely" put an inquiry into political support for the invasion of Iraq on the agenda of future negotiations over the formation of a coalition cabinet.
The party leader and deputy prime minister made his statements in an interview with NRC Handelsblad last week (13 December 2008).
Mr Bos emphasised that the Labour position on an Iraq inquiry, which the party agreed not to pursue as part of the current coalition agreement, has not changed.
"We still believe the inquiry is important," Mr Bos said. He added that within the ruling three-way coalition, other parties also had to make concessions on key points in their platforms.
"I am sure this subject will again feature in our next election programme. Maybe we will pull it off in a next round," Mr Bos said.
The Iraq issue has become topical again because the cabinet will soon have to answer several dozen questions from the Senate on Dutch support for the war.
Labour has always argued for an inquiry, both in parliament and during its election campaign. As the issue was bartered away during the 2007 coalition talks, parliament's hands are pretty much tied.
However, Labour Senator Klaas de Vries has argued for a Senate inquiry. Last week, he suggested that Labour was very quick to drop its demand for an inquiry during the coalition talks. In parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende underscored that an inquiry was out of the question.
In 2003, the Netherlands lent political support to the invasion of Iraq, which took place without a United Nations mandate.
Mr Balkenende has always said that the Netherlands supported the war because Iraq refused to adhere to UN resolutions. But recently leaked documents show that there were doubts. In these documents, government officials warned there was no adequate legal justification for the attack.