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US ambassador finally apologizes for Netherlands 'no-go zone' claim

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Amsterdam (dpa) - The new US ambassador to the Netherlands has finally apologized for anti-Muslim comments he made in 2015, when he claimed that there were "no-go zones" in the Netherlands and that politicians were being burned.

"Looking back I‘m horrified that I said that," Pete Hoekstra told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf in an interview published Friday. "It was an inaccurate statement. It was just wrong."

"I got my countries mixed up. I don‘t know how the mistake happened. But it was a mistake," he continued.

Hoekstra found himself at the centre of a media storm last month when he gave a baffling interview to a Dutch television reporter.

In it he said reports that he had made the 2015 comments were "fake news."

Minutes later, after being shown video footage of himself making the claims, he then denied having said it was fake news.

At a Wednesday press conference with Dutch journalists, he continued to refuse to admit that the 2015 comments were incorrect, even as Dutch journalists asked him to name any politicians who had recently been burnt.

The 2015 remarks were made at an anti-terrorism conference hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Centre. Hoekstra then said there was "chaos in the Netherlands" with "cars being burned," "politicans that are being burned" and that "there are no go zones in the Netherlands."

Hoekstra, who was born in the Netherlands but emigrated to the United States as a child, was sworn in as ambassador on December 11.


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