MOSCOW, January 29. /TASS/. The Netherlands is deliberately creating an atmosphere of incitement by including in its parliamentary delegation MP Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, who was banned from entering Russia, and this step showed that the Hague is scheming to whip up a scandal rather than conduct constructive dialogue, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Now it’s clear what the Dutch parliamentarians expected by deciding on including Sjoerd Sjoerdsma in their delegation. Despite our warnings they deliberately staged this provocation while being well aware of all possible consequences,” the ministry emphasized.
“So, they sought a scandal rather than a constructive discussion on ways of patching up Russian-Dutch relations and issues on the international agenda,” the ministry noted.
Russia’s diplomatic office recalled that the Netherlands had been notified in advance (on January 14) that it was inadvisable to include Sjoerdsma in the parliamentary delegation, which planned to visit Russia on February 25-27, 2020.
The Dutch MP from the Democrats 66 (D66) party is known for his unfriendly and blatantly aggressive statements against Russia. In 2013, he called for cancelling the Year of Russia in the Netherlands and the Year of the Netherlands in Russia. He also demanded that the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi be boycotted and the 2018 FIFA World Cup be relocated away from Russia. The lawmaker also insisted on “punishing” Russia in connection with the MH17 flight crash in Ukraine.
Besides, the Foreign Ministry noted that the Dutch legislators’ decision to once again cancel a trip to Russia over the entry ban for Sjoerdsma came as no surprise for Moscow. “The Hague interprets the situation as if this circumstance had created an unsurmountable obstacle for the parliamentary delegation’s visit to Russia,” it said.
The Foreign Ministry emphasized that after cancelling the trip to Moscow under the pretext of “solidarity” with MPs, the Dutch authorities are now using a hackneyed cliche to blame Russia for disrupting the visit. “It’s obvious that the Hague did not want this visit to take place and opposed the attempts of holding the first direct dialogue between the two countries’ lawmakers since 2008,” it said. Apparently, the Dutch Foreign Ministry is implementing its Strategy on Russia.
Earlier, Dutch news agency Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANP) reported that the parliamentary delegation canceled its visit to Russia after MP Sjoerdsma had been denied entry to Russia. On Tuesday, the Russian Embassy in the Netherlands announced that the Dutch MPs were shutting the window of opportunities for resuming dialogue with their counterparts in the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament.