Chamber cancels working visit after Russian refusal of D'66 MP
The House of Representatives has canceled a working visit to the Russian parliament. The standing committee of Foreign Affairs decided on Tuesday to cancel the trip after Monday it was announced that the Russian government has blacklisted D66 MP Sjoerd Sjoerdsma.
Commission President Pia Dijkstra: "We will let the Duma know that we are very disappointed that a parliamentarian is not admitted on the basis of a secret list, on which Mr Sjoerdsma is on."
Sjoerdsma: "The Chamber Committee said that if one member of the House of Representatives cannot be invited, the entire parliament will not be invited to do so. The Duma has thus canceled the invitation."
Russia has given no formal reason for the MP's refusal. "It is still unclear why I am on the list," said Sjoerdsma.
Commission President Dijkstra will therefore call on the Russian ambassador to the House of Representatives to request text and explanation about the action.
Sjoerdsma often criticized Putin's regime
Sjoerdsma is known as a critic of the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin. For example, the D66 was at the cradle of the European human rights sanction regime, unofficially named after the Russian Sergei Magnitsky who was found dead in a Russian cell under suspicious circumstances.
Sjoerdsma is also a critical follower of the MH17 file and the involvement of the Russian army in the delivery of the rifle rocket that was used to crash the aircraft.
Minister Stef Blok (Foreign Affairs) called the action of the Russians Monday "incorrect". He made every effort to get Sjoerdsma off the sanction list by, among other things, summoning the Russian ambassador, but without success.
The correct decision of the Dutch Parlement not to go. It is not up to the Russian government - or any government - to determine who is in or out a Parliamentarian dedication.