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Dutch News
Party leaders agree to continue coalition talks 1/5/2007
5 January 2007

AMSTERDAM — Party leaders Jan Peter Balkenende, Wouter Bos and André Rouvoet said on Friday they have built sufficient trust to continue coalition government talks.

Christian Democrat CDA leader Balkenende said there is a will to continue. Despite the fact there are still difficult discussions ahead, he said it was worth the difficulty to push ahead with talks.

The announcement was made after three days of ''secret'' meetings between the three leaders at a rural hotel in the northern province of Friesland aimed at building a basis of trust.

PvdA leader Wouter Bos said tensions between the CDA and PvdA during the election campaign were now in the past. "It is now about the future, not about the past," he said.

ChristenUnie leader Rouvoet said it was time to look to the challenges ahead and at "formulating commonalities".

Bos said the talks had examined different suggestions for a motto for the new government, but that no decisions had been made yet.

The facilitator of the talks, Herman Wijffels, said the three parties had the same vision about what the Netherlands needed in coming years. He stressed there was a "broad joint basis" despite party differences.

Balkenende, Bos and Rouvoet will continue to meet at secret locations in the coming period to further discuss the formation of new government. "We will meet at various locations," Wijffels said.

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