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Dutch Government Resigns 1 Month Before Elections


The Netherlands' government has resigned in the continuing political fallout over last week's Srebrenica report, which accused Dutch leaders of failing to prevent the worst atrocity of the Bosnian war.

A month before general elections, Prime Minister Wim Kok and his governing coalition cabinet handed their formal resignations into the Queen.

The political crisis began last week with the release of a government-commissioned report. It found the Dutch, whose soldiers made up the U.N. peacekeeping force in Srebrenica, failed to protect 8,000 Muslims from slaughter by Bosnian Serbs.

The report found that the government sent its troops on an impossible mission with an unclear mandate, in part because of political ambition. The report also said the military had shielded information about the killings from Dutch politicians and the public, wanting to protect its image.

While the Srebrenica report has become an election issue, some observers say the resignations are just token moves. They point out that the government is in a lame-duck position until the next one is formed, and that all ministers will remain in power until then.

One Srebrenica survivor said he is disgusted that the cabinet resigned because its leaders were caught in a whitewash, rather than because they presided over the massacre of 8,000 men.

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