Dutch government collapses

Dutch government collapses
# 20 February 2010 09:35 (UTC +04:00)
Amsterdam – APA. The Netherlands faced with government crisis amid disagreement on withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. The Dutch cabinet remained locked in talks in the early hours of Saturday amid speculation of a ruling coalition split over a NATO request to extend the Netherlands’ military mission in Afghanistan, APA reports quoting AFP. After 16 hours of discussions, Labor Party said it has left the coalition.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told parliament on Thursday that the meeting would discuss a Labour Party (PvdA) demand for a rejection of NATO’s request that saw the three-party centre-left coalition publicly locking horns. In the latest in a string of political rows, vice-premier Wouter Bos invoked the ire of his cabinet colleagues by stating this week that his PvdA would not support extending the Dutch deployment in Afghanistan beyond August 2010. Balkenende, who leads the senior Christian Democratic coalition partner, responded that the matter was still under discussion, while the junior Christian Union (CU) chided Bos for speaking out of turn.
Around 1,950 Dutch troops are deployed in Afghanistan under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. The Dutch mission, which started in 2006, has already been extended by two years. It has cost the lives of 21 of its soldiers.
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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED