Egypt bars Dutch MP for racism
Egypt has refused entry to a Dutch MP, a member of the far-right Party for Freedom (PVV), for what it termed racist comments and hostility to Egypt's government, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.
Cairo's rejection of Raymond De Roon resulted in an eight-member delegation of the Dutch Foreign Commission, which included the MP, cancelling its visit on Wednesday.
"They are of the opinion if one delegate cannot go, none of them should go," Dutch parliamentary spokesman David van der Houwen told AFP.
Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman Amr Roshdi said: "Mr De Roon recently told the Dutch parliament that Egypt practised ethnic cleansing, describing its government as a dictatorship. These statements constitute incitement to racism, punished by national and international law, and a legal foundation sufficient not to grant him a visa."
De Roon, 59, made his comment after a demonstration by Coptic Christians on October 9 in Cairo which degenerated into a confrontation with the military and security forces, causing 25 deaths, the Dutch parliamentary spokesman said.
Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said in a statement he "can fully understand why the committee came to the decision" to cancel the trip, adding that "De Roon used his democratic right as an MP to voice an opinion."
The PVV party of Geert Wilders, with 24 seats of the 150 in the lower house of parliament, opposes what it calls the "Islamisation" of the Netherlands. It lends its support to a centre-right coalition in the parliament.
© 2011 AFP