‘Verhagen threatened to resign’

Foreign affairs minister Maxime Verhagen was so angry with the coalition partners’ stance earlier this week on withdrawing Dutch troops from Afghanistan that he threatened to resign, reports Friday’s Telegraaf, quoting unnamed sources close to the government.

Wednesday night’s parliamentary debate on whether Dutch troops should remain in Afghanistan after the current mandate which expires next year, led to emotional scenes, the paper says.
The Christian Democrat minister was furious that the coalition parties continued to oppose an extension of the Dutch military mission in Afghanistan, the paper says.
Verhagen’s spokesman has dismissed the suggestion that the minister threatened to step down, says the Telegraaf.
The threat is reported to have come during a pause in the debate to allow the leaders of the three coalition parties (Christian Democrats, Labour and the ChristenUnie) to try to come up with a joint amendment.
The subject of Afghanistan is expected to be discussed again at today’s cabinet meeting.
Labour and ChristenUnie are irritated that Verhagen insisted on keeping the option of an extension to the Dutch mission open during Wednesday’s parliamentary debate despite the fact that prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende had called on ministers not to speculate on the future of Dutch involvement in Afghanistan.

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