Saturday 04 December 2021

Rutte denies deal with Russia over Olympics, will raise gay rights

Prime minister Mark Rutte has denied any connection between the release of 30 Greenpeace activists held by Russia and the decision that he, plus the king and queen, are to attend the Sochi winter Olympics.

Both the NRC and Telegraaf newspapers claimed the cabinet told Russia last autumn the Netherlands would send a heavyweight delegation to the games in order to soften up officials and stimulate the speedy release of Faiza Oulahsen and Mannes Ubels.

The papers base their claims on political sources.

Putin

Rutte has already denied there was any deal but told parliament on Tuesday Sochi was not mentioned in talks with president Vladimir Putin and others.

Rutte also said he had no intention of changing the make-up of the delegation, which also includes sports minister Edith Schippers, despite criticism from MPs and senior VVD members.

Rutte did say he would raise the issue of gay rights with Putin if the opportunity arose and would definitely meet Russian gay organisations.

Earlier stories
Dutch king, queen and prime minister will go to Sochi Olympics
Prime minister should not go to Sochi games, says Labour leader
Dutch send biggest ever team to the winter Olympics

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