Trump's Netherlands envoy criticised for false claims about Muslim migrants
12 January, 2018, 06:19 | Author: Edward Snyder
During a news conference at the State Department's headquarters in Washington, Undersecretary Steve Goldstein told reporters that Pete Hoekstra, the new us ambassador in the Netherlands, had "made comments that should not have been made" when asked about Hoekstra's statements about Muslim no-go zones and people being burned alive because of the Islamic movement.
"In the Netherlands you don't get a straight up answer, if you ask straight up questions", he said. "Was that a wrong remark, was it false?"
In December, Hoekstra denied making the 2015 remarks, telling the Dutch television program Nieuwsuur it was "an incorrect statement. fake news".
"The Islamic movement is now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos", Hoekstra had said at the November 2015 gathering, during a recorded panel discussion about migration from Muslim states.
Hoekstra said he hoped to begin in-depth briefings with Dutch officials on the United States perspectives on issues both countries face, including counter-terrorism and cyber threats.
On Thursday, the State Department said the U.S. administration does not stand by these allegations, nor does it believe as Hoekstra apparently does in Muslim controlled "no-go zones". "Is that something you believe, yes or no?"
Hoekstra said on Wednesday he did not want to revisit the issue - but that did not stop Dutch reporters from pressing unsuccessfully for a clarification.
The US and other foreign media have reported widely on the "roasting" the new US ambassador to the Netherlands received from Dutch reporters when he tried to brush off statements about no-go areas and politicians being burned. "You have to answer questions", a female reporter said.
Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein told a briefing on Thursday the State Department "does not agree" with Hoekstra's 2015 remarks about Muslim migrants in the Netherlands.
During the exchange on Wednesday, which was captured on video, the ambassador fell silent as a series of reporters continued to query him, drawing a slew of critical headlines in the Netherlands and coverage across the world.
There's a popular right-wing narrative about the alleged spread of violent, Islamist-controlled "no-go zones" in cities in Western Europe where even police are afraid to go.
"I made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview", he said in a statement. "Please accept my apology", he said.
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