The cabinet on Tuesday night survived a seven-hour debate on the botched rescue mission of a Dutch man from Libya which led to the capture of a three-strong helicopter crew and the helicopter itself.
A motion from opposition parties to force the cabinet to admit the evacuation should not have been carried out the way it was failed to win majority support.
During the debate, both defence minister Hans Hillen and foreign minister Uri Rosenthal admitted mistakes had been made.
The helicopter crew was held by the Libyan authorities for 12 days before being released.
‘In retrospect we needed more time. If you sit in a pressure cooker, sometimes things go wrong,’ Hillen said. He said he was ‘very sorry’ about what happened to the crew and that they had been put in such a dangerous situation.
Rosenthal said the cabinet made the wrong decision when it agreed to pick up the man in Sirte. For example, ministers were not aware of the fact the pick-up spot was very close to a palace used by Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi.
‘If we had known, we would have done something different,’ he said. The helicopter was surrounded by troops as soon as it landed.
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