Dutch did consider military aid for Iraq war

The Netherlands did consider sending a miltary frigate to help the US and British invasion of Iraq in 2003, RTL news reported on Tuesday evening.

The Dutch foreign affairs and defence ministries went as far as preparing a letter to ask parliament for permission for the action, the tv channel said, quoting confidential cabinet documents.
Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who was also prime minister at the time, has always denied that the Netherlands considered giving military support to the invasion, RTL said.
Informal request
The preparations were made after the US made an ‘informal’ request to the Netherlands for help, RTL said. Last month, ministers told MPs that no ‘formal request’ for assistance had been made.
The Dutch frigate was never sent because Balkenende’s Christian Democrat party was in talks with Labour on forming a new government following the general election. Labour was opposed to any involvement in Iraq.
In the end, the Netherlands gave political support to the war but did not get involved militarily.
The latest revelations add more weight to repeated calls for a formal parliamentary inquiry into events surrounding Dutch backing for the invasion.
RTL used freedom of information legislation to obtain the documents.
For the RTL report and all the documents (Dutch only), click here

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