Dutch Foreign Minister Resigns After Admitting Lie

Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra resigned Tuesday after admitting he had lied about attending a 2006 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Zijlstra went before members of parliament and said he had decided to step down because the foreign minister’s credibility must be “beyond doubt.”

He held the position for about four months.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte faced questions about why he had not made the lie public despite having known about it for several weeks. He said he underestimated the impact it would have.

Parliament held a no-confidence vote Tuesday, but Rutte easily survived.

The scandal involving Zijlstra risks undermining Dutch foreign policy at a time when diplomatic ties between the Netherlands and Russia have deteriorated, largely over the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine, allegedly by pro-Russian separatists. Most of the 298 people who died in the crash were Dutch.

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