Political veteran named as new Dutch foreign minister

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch government has named a political veteran as its new foreign affairs minister to replace the envoy who quit last month after admitting that he lied about a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The government information service announced Monday that Stef Blok will be sworn in Wednesday by King Willem-Alexander.

Blok, a long-serving member of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, left politics following an election last year, but has been recalled by Rutte to replace Halbe Zijlstra.

Zijlstra’s position as the country’s top diplomat became untenable after he admitted lying about attending a meeting with Putin in 2006 when, according to Zijlstra, Putin said he considered Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic states part of a “Greater Russia.”

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