Trump's ambassador to the Netherlands apologizes for false 'no-go' claims

Lester Mason
January 13, 2018

The new USA ambassador to the Netherlands vowed to learn from his mistakes and move on to build ties with the Dutch people, after a rocky start to his posting.

Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman from MI and recent political appointee, made the apology during an interview Friday with De Telegraaf, one of the largest Dutch newspapers, at the end of a particularly rough week for the new ambassador.

Reflecting on his remarks in a Dutch newspaper, Hoekstra told the conservative daily De Telegraaf: "That one shocked me personally".

But his first days in the job have been clouded by a row after video emerged of him at a 2015 conference claiming that Muslim immigrants had turned parts of the country into "no-go zones" and that cars and politicians were being burned. "It was a wrong statement".

The newly-appointed USA ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, has finally admitted that he was wrong to say that there were "no-go" zones in the country where Muslim youths were burning politicians and cars. "All right? There are no-go zones in France".

The Dutch-born former Republican congressman said, "I mixed up countries", though he did not say what other country he might have been thinking of. "I got it wrong. I know: I was wrong", he said. The Dutch media in particular has homed in on them, repeatedly questioning Hoekstra to provide the names of the politicians he said were being burned in their country, or retract the statements. Hoekstra eventually stopped responding to questions. "That is not the language that we would use, ' the State Department's undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, Steve Goldstein, told reporters in Washington on Thursday".

After stewing in the controversy for a couple of days Hoekstra relented, at the urging of the US State Department.

"One of the things I learned in business: you learn from mistakes", he said.

The State Department announced the interview with De Telegraaf on Thursday after it, too, faced questions about Hoekstra's comments.

"I have a record of 25 years of working with Dutch government officials, working with Dutch government interest, promoting American business interest.(people) know who I am", he said. "He recognizes that", Goldstein said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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