06:11 GMT +316 October 2019
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    Refugees collect clothes, brought by residents of the neighborhood, outside the Schuttersveld Sports Centre designed as emergency shelter in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on October 9, 2015

    True Lies? US Envoy Hoekstra Denies Citing 'No-Go Zones' in Holland

    © AFP 2019 / ANP / ROBIN UTRECHT
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    Should a highly placed diplomat be responsible for what he says in public? As far as the new US Ambassador to the Netherlands is concerned, the answer to this question is hanging in the air.

    New US Ambassador to Netherlands Pete Hoekstra has denied his ever mentioning "no-go zones" in the Netherlands, which he described as "fake news."

    During the News Hour show on the Netherlands' public broadcaster NOS, Dutch journalist Wouter Zwart asked Hoekstra to comment on his statements he made in 2015 about "no-go zones" in the Netherlands, where cars and politicians are allegedly being set on fire.

    "I didn't say that. This is actually an incorrect statement. We would call it fake news," Hoekstra replied.

    Pete Hoekstra R-Mich., introduces Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Lansing, Mich. (File)
    © AP Photo / Carlos Osorio
    Pete Hoekstra R-Mich., introduces Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Lansing, Mich. (File)

    Zwart was quick to show the US Ambassador a clip of his comments from 2015, again asking Hoekstra to give his thoughts on all this.

    "I didn't call that fake news, I didn't use the words today. No, I don't think I did," the US diplomat retorted, prompting Zwart to look visibly confused.

    The so-called "no-go zones" are believed to be European areas where immigration has resulted in drastic increases in crime and cultural barriers, something that prodded authorities and locals to avoid going there, according to Deutsche Welle.

    Pete Hoekstra was sworn in by the US Vice President, Mike Pence, on December 11. Born in Groningen in the Netherlands, Hoekstar moved to the US with his family when he was three.

    READ MORE: Over 131,000 Migrants Arrive in Europe by Sea in 2017 — UN Migration Agency

    He was a Republican Congressman for Michigan between 1993 and 2011, serving as chair of the House intelligence committee for two years during this period.

    US President Donald Trump has repeatedly said the phrase "fake news" which has been declared the official Collins Dictionary Word of the Year for 2017.


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