Friday, 10 June 2016 - 10:57
Coalition at odds over Dutch troops in Mali or Libya
The deployment of Dutch troops abroad has the ruling coalition at odds. The VVD wants to send Dutch troops to Libya, but the PvdA wants to extend the mission in Mali, according to Het Parool. Behind the scenes the coalition is hard at work trying to figure out how the Netherlands can best contribute to the fight against terrorism and stopping more asylum seekers. According to the newspaper, the VVD already concluded that the Dutch troops will be more effective in Libya than Mali. According to the liberals, Libya is the country asylum seekers from North and West Africa use to get to Europe and from there you can also fight ISIS. The VVD feels that it is therefore "in the Netherlands' direct interest" to be active in Libya. The Netherlands has been participating in the UN mission in Mali for 2.5 years, with over 400 soldiers and a few helicopters. It is seen as PvdA Minister Bert Koenders' baby - before he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, he was in charge of the UN missions. The fact that he wants to continue with the mission is clear from his public statements repeating how important it is, according to BNR. "There is no exact deadline. It is an important mission for the Netherlands. We need to see how we can best contribute to cooperate with other countries", Koenders said recently. The cabinet is currently deliberating on whether or not to extend the Mali mission. Sources told BNR that the mission will continue, but in a scaled down form.