March 5, 2018 / 3:53 PM / a year ago

Dutch government names former justice minister Blok as new foreign minister

The new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stef Blok arrives for talks with Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague, the Netherlands March 5, 2018 REUTERS/Michael Kooren

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch government said on Monday it would appoint Stef Blok as foreign minister, replacing Halbe Zijlstra, who resigned last month after admitting he had lied about a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Blok, who had intended to leave politics after serving as justice minister in the previous cabinet, is a member of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s governing VVD Party.

Although Blok led the VVD’s parliamentary faction from 2012-2015, he is not known to have any international political experience.

Zijlstra resigned on Feb. 13 after acknowledging he had fabricated a tale about having personally overheard Putin outline plans for territorial expansion during a private meeting outside Moscow.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Gareth Jones

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