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Dutch News
"Senate is free to hold Iraq inquiry" 4/4/2007
3 April 2007

AMSTERDAM – The Upper House of Parliament is free to hold an inquiry into the Dutch support for the military action in Iraq in 2003, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said during the debate on the government policy statement in the Senate.

The prime minister pointed out that the three coalition factions in the Lower House had agreed that no such inquiry would be held, but that the Senate is not bound by this agreement. "It is up to the Senate to make a decision on its own," he said.

The Labour party PvdA has been calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the action in Iraq for years, but did not manage to persuade coalition partners Christian democrats CDA and ChristenUnie. Balkenende stressed that a coalition accord only applies to the coalition parties in the Lower House.

Socialist party SP senator Tiny Kox was pleased at the prime minister''s statements. The SP also supports such an inquiry.

It is still unclear whether the PvdA will vote in favour of such an inquiry by the Upper House. Faction leader Han Noten said on Tuesday that his faction considers itself "not bound, but certainly affiliated" with the coalition accord.

Departing PvdA senator Erik Jurgens and prominent party member Klaas de Vries, who will be sworn in as senator in May, had hinted earlier that an Iraq inquiry might be called for in the Senate.

Balkenende said on Tuesday that he thought it would be a good idea for the Upper House to debate future Dutch peace-keeping missions with the government. The coalition accord states that this will only take place if there is a clear mandate in accordance with international law.

Noten wants to know what this means precisely. He wonders what the situation would be if a member of the Security Council of the UN were to veto such a mission.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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