US envoy erred in comments about Muslims in Netherlands: State Dept

US envoy erred in comments about Muslims in Netherlands: State Dept

"The Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos - chaos in the Netherlands, there are cars being burned, there are politicians that are being burned", he said then, adding, "And yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands".

Mr Hoekstra is a former Republican congressman from MI who was born in the Netherlands.

He did not answer and another journalist said: "This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions". In that interview with Wouter Zwart, Hoekstra initially denied ever saying the Netherlands has "no go zones" where radical Muslims are creating "chaos". Instead, he is going to try to explain his previous statements, made on USA television in 2015, to the Dutch media and local communities.

"We were all astonished that he didn't want to take back the comment".

"He recognizes that, he apologized in December".

"He is honored to be the Ambassador".

Hoekstra said he hoped to begin in-depth briefings with Dutch officials on the U.S. perspectives on issues both countries face, including counter-terrorism and cyber threats.

Meanwhile, the State Department took note of the embarrassing ambassadorial moment in the Hague, and disavowed Hoekstra's 2015 comments Thursday.

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When he was asked why Hoekstra had not, himself, simply withdrawn the allegations, Goldstein said: "I appreciate that PR advice ..."

During Wednesday's press conference, when asked by AD if after the commotion he had considered withdrawing as a contender for the embassy position, he replied, "The president chose me because he considers me the right men for the job".

A visibly backing off Hoekstra, responded with: "I issued a statement, I expressed my regrets, and my apology for the comments that I made, and I'm not revisiting the issue".

In his first news conference with reporters since being named ambassador by President Donald Trump, the former Michigan GOP lawmaker was asked no less than a half-dozen questions about a claim that he never substantiated, the Times reported.

He takes up the post as United States envoy left vacant for two years, and as immigration is set to again be a hot-button issue in the Dutch local elections due on March 21.

During the exchange on Wednesday, which was captured on video, the ambassador fell silent as a series of reporters continued to query him, drawing a slew of critical headlines in the Netherlands and coverage across the world. "He recognises that", Goldstein said.

Goldstein said that Hoekstra has an interview scheduled with a Dutch media outlet Friday, but he didn't name the organization.

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