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Labour says final 'no' to Afghanistan

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Labour leader Wouter Bos has said a final no to any further role for Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan, forcing a potential cabinet crisis.

Nato has asked the Netherlands to stay past the August 2010 deadline in a training role. But, after a meeting with other ministers on Wednesday morning, Bos said Labour would definitely oppose an extension to the Dutch mission at Friday's cabinet meeting.

Bos said his no vote is keeping the Labour party's promise to voters. 'That means there must be a negative response to Nato's request. That decision can be taken on Friday,' he said.

Bos refused to say if the decision meant the cabinet was close to collapse.

Labour's coalition partner, the CDA, supports the Nato request.

All options

CDA prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende said after Wednesday's meeting all the options are still on the table. 'We have a major international responsibility to seriously examine the Nato secretary general's request,' he told reporters.

Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen (CDA) said after the meeting he did not expect a decision to be taken on Friday. 'There are different standpoints,' he said.

MPs had asked the cabinet to take a decision by March 1, just ahead of the local elections on March 3.

Commentators said Labour's pressure for a speedy decision can be seen as a political tactic ahead of the local vote. According to opinion polls, the party is heading for serious losses.

Iraq crisis

The issue of Afghanistan is the second to divide the two governing parties within a few weeks.

In January, Bos and Labour MPs were furious when Balkenende appeared to dismiss the conclusions of a critical report on the Dutch role in Iraq. Labour opposed the invasion.

A cabinet crisis was narrowly averted with the publication of a carefully-worded report stressing that lessons had to be learned.

Is Labour right to say no now? Take part in our poll

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Good for you Wouter Bos!!! Stick with NO and don´t get bullied into Yes.

By sandra | 17 February 2010 2:18 PM

(the new boss?)

By Gerard | 17 February 2010 2:35 PM

Here here, my sentiments exactly!

By Andy | 17 February 2010 3:38 PM

He'll have to change his tune because Washington won't take no for an answer...

By Bene the Rat | 17 February 2010 3:48 PM

Yes….Wouter, stick to you’re guns…for ones.
And let new elections wipe you off the political map.
Great, let people with at least a resemblance of a spinal cord run the nation.

By Kees | 17 February 2010 4:19 PM

What do we speak here in Nederland? Oh yeah Dutch!!! Not German, thx America for maybe one day we can repay the favor!!! Not only the U.S was attacked by terror! Not one country or person caused this war in Afgh!!

By DR | 17 February 2010 4:58 PM

The Dutch should not have gone into Afghanistan in the first place. I'm happy to know that the Dutch are learning their lessons... the Middle East is no place for you.

By Ali | 17 February 2010 8:24 PM

What exactly is the harm in keeping some dutch in country to support the afghans in a training role? It would give the afghans a fair chance against the taliban and protect all that has been built in the last couple of years!

I think Bos is trying to get some quick votes just before the local voting rounds.

By Matthijs | 17 February 2010 9:57 PM

Oh Americans, please do stop the constant Whining. The Dutch have given far more support then most Nato members, not counting UK AND USA of course. It is time for other NATO members to help out and let us have a break from this seemingly un-ending war that we never asked for in the first place. Don´t forget, it was your stupid former president George W. Bush that made a mess out of the middle east by ditching Afghanstan, in favor of an illegal war in Iraq with Big OIL on the minds of greedy corporate USA and dollar signs in the republicans eyes. We over here, care more for our citizens that they have affordable health care, jobs and security then you do about 90 percent of the American citizens out of jobs, no health care and left to fend for themselves while the small ten percent of wealthy fat pig Americans, lobbyist big businesses buy votes and supreme court judges that favor republicans in order to suppress their new third world country of inpoverished American citizens. Instead of wasting billions of us dollars on wars while your people in your country are homeless, without jobs and health care, that money should go to the American people, not the rich ten percent of course.

By sandrav | 18 February 2010 8:51 AM

Pull ALL troops out NOW! As for the Americans, they would not have won their "Revolutionary war" if not for Dutch and French aid. Oh how Americans have "short" memories and long stories to rewrite history in their favor. This is why I left all those years ago. Before they comment, I too spent 5 years in the US navy protecting their "freedoms". Ex-president/fool Bush took care of my loyalty to the country. How about the Americans send their 1/3rd obese population to go fight their own battles rather than commenting here.

By Paul Martin | 18 February 2010 11:36 AM

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