The visit to Saudi Arabia by king Willem-Alexander following the death of the Saudi king was in the Netherlands’ interests, foreign minister Bert Koeders said on Tuesday.
It is because the Netherlands maintains a relationship with the country that ministers can raise questions about human rights abuses, Koenders told parliament.
A number of opposition parties had criticised the decision to send both the king and Koenders to pay their respects in Riyad.
‘It is an illusion to think you can defend human rights by being isolated,’ Koenders said, pointing out that Saudi campaigners are not in favour of a boycott.
While the Netherlands does have economic interests in Saudia Arabia, the two countries are also working together to combat terrorism and IS, he said.
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