SP: 'Members of Parliament must be invited to Afghanistan Conference'

18 March 2009

SP: 'Members of Parliament must be invited to Afghanistan Conference'

Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence must be able to attend the forthcoming international conference on Afghanistan as observers, according to SP defence spokesman Harry van Bommel. The conference will take place in The Hague on 31st March.

Harry van Bommel Van Bommel notes that there is a great deal on the conference agenda which directly affects the Netherlands. "A lot of pressure has been put on the Netherlands to stay in Afghanistan longer than originally agreed, and now to send more troops. The day after the conference Parliament will be talking to the government about the proposal that additional commandos be sent. The military strategy will also be discussed. It would be inconceivable if these important topics were being discussed only days earlier without Parliament having the opportunity to gain any direct knowledge of the thinking surrounding them." Van Bommel is confident that his request will receive the backing of other political groups in Parliament.

It is not unusual for MPs to attend conferences of this nature. They are, for example, invited every year to visit the UN General Assembly, and recent conferences such as one on the banning of cluster bombs have also seen parliamentarians participate. "The government should be pleased if Members of Parliament are extensively involved in an event concerning this important question," Van Bommel says.

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