MPs support longer Libya mission

Parliament has given its final approval to extend the Dutch contribution to the NATO mission in Libya. In the past few months, the Netherlands has helped enforce the no-fly zone over Libya and the UN arms embargo.

The Dutch participation in the mission has now been extended by three months. Coalition parties VVD (conservatives) and CDA (Christian democrats), and opposition parties PvdA (Labour), the democrat party D66, the Green Left party and the Christian Union were all in favour.

The Green Left party voted against the initial deployment in March, but says there is now more clarity about the objectives, strategy and means of the mission. According to Green Left MP Mariko Peters, “This is important to a small country that has little or no say in the decisions taken by the leading countries. What is important is that now there's more of a focus on a political solution and a post-conflict plan. And that civilian victims will receive compensation, and physical damage will be paid for once the smoke has cleared.”

The Socialist Party and the Freedom Party - which provides parliamentary support to the VVD-CDA minority cabinet - voted against the extension.

On Thursday afternoon, parliament will vote on a proposal by D66 leader Alexander Pechtold which would bar the cabinet from any involvement in efforts to help suspected Libyan war criminals escape trial at the International Criminal Court. The proposal has the support of a majority in parliament.

[Source: Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 23Jun11]

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