Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra resigned on Tuesday over lying about a 2006 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, ahead of a debate on his position in the Dutch lower house of parliament.
Before the debate in The Hague, Dutch opposition parties were questioning his credibility and argued Zijlstra could no longer function as foreign affairs minister. Zijlstra concurred and announced his resignation.
"This is by far the biggest mistake in my political career," Zijlstra said, adding, "There is too much doubt about my functioning as Dutch Foreign Minister. This is my own decision."
However, his position became weaker on Tuesday after new revelations he not only lied about being present at a meeting with Putin, but also misinterpreted the words of the Russian President.
During a speech at a congress of his party the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) in May 2016, the current Dutch FM claimed to have attended a meeting with Putin and that he heard the Russian President talk about a "Great Russia".
Contrary to his earlier claims, Zijlstra admitted he was not present at the meeting and that the reason he made up the story about his presence was to protect his source.
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