Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte had a 45-minute meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday to discuss human rights, ahead of the start of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Rutte lobbyed for a meeting with Putin following widespread criticism of the Netherlands’ decision to send its prime minister, king and queen to the Olympics.
During the meeting, Rutte repeated the Dutch objections to Russia’s new law on gay ‘propaganda’, he told Nos television. About 30 minutes of the meeting was devoted to human rights.
The relationship between the Netherlands and Russia is ‘so good that we can discuss difficult subjects,’ Rutte is quoted as saying.
Putin reportedly spoke of his gratitude that king Willem-Alexander will be at the opening ceremony on Friday evening.
Rutte has also been in contact with Dutch singer Gordon about the situation facing gay people in Russia on Friday, Nos television says.
Earlier in the day Gordon, who made international headlines last year for his jokes about Chinese people on a tv talent show, published an open letter to Rutte, condemning the heavyweight Dutch delegation to the games.
‘You should be extremely embarrassed that you can sit there with dry eyes,’ Gordon says on his Facebook page.
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