Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs Sigrid Kaag steps down

Declaration of Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs Sigrid Kaag on September 16th in the Dutch House of Representatives.

©Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs Sigrid Kaag.

Ms Kaag’s farewell statement is as follows:

‘Madam Chair,

Yesterday, we had an intensive, intense debate about the Dutch evacuation amid the acute crisis in Afghanistan.

I have reflected at length about what worked, and what did not, in terms of our own response and that of other countries. The House has decided that the government acted irresponsibly. And even though I stand firmly behind our efforts, I have no choice, as the responsible minister, but to accept the consequences of that decision. In my conception of democracy and our political culture, a minister is obliged to step down if their policy is censured. I will therefore submit my resignation as Minister of Foreign Affairs to His Majesty the King.

Foreign Affairs was my passion. This is no secret to anyone. It is my heart; it is who I am. It was therefore a great honour and an enormous pleasure to be part of the third Rutte government, first as Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and then as Minister of Foreign Affairs. I accepted the latter position in May of this year because I was asked to do so, and I tried to be worthy of the office and invest it with value, to the best of my ability.

Our efforts in Afghanistan will continue. Without me, obviously. But I am convinced that the staff at the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence will keep up their outstanding work, as a team, as individuals – undaunted, courageous and honourable. And I thank them deeply for everything they have done and will do, and for the way they supported me as a minister with various hats.

And I would like to express my thanks not only to Prime Minister Rutte – Mark – for his trust in me but also to my colleagues in the government for a pleasant working relationship. I have asked the other ministers and state secretaries from D66 to remain in their positions, in the interests of the country and the challenges facing the caretaker government, and they are willing to do so. Thank you very much. God bless you.’