Rutte fields questions about Zwarte Piet

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Sunday that when he takes part in the Dutch tradition of Zwarte Piet it is worse for him than it is for Black people.

"My friends in the Dutch Antilles are very happy when they have to play Sinterklaas, because they don't have to paint their faces, and when I am playing for Black Pete I have for days try to get that black stuff off my face," Rutte said at a press conference ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit that opens today in The Hague.

The Prime Minister was responding to a question from a foreign journalist who commended him on his standpoint in the controversy surrounding Moroccan bashing statements by Geert Wilders, but questioned his position in the Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) debate that ignited at the end of last year. "To me it sounds like you are selective in which social issues you address, because you're aggravating certain groups," the journalist said.

"You are on the spot about what i said about Geert Wilders and Moroccans. And you're right too, I said Black Pete is Black and i cannot change that. Sinterklaas is an old children's tradition; it's not green Pete or Brown Pete and I cannot change that," Rutte said.