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Dutch govt slams Iceland president’s inaction on Icesave

The Dutch government has rebuked Iceland’s president for refusing to sign a bill to repay European governments for reimbursing Icesave investors when the bank collapsed.

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AFP - The Dutch government said Tuesday it was "extremely disappointed" at the refusal of Iceland's president to sign a bill  to compensate the Netherlands and Britain over the failure of Icesave bank.

"We are extremely disappointed," finance ministry spokesman Ruud Slotboom told AFP.

"The Netherlands maintains that Iceland is compelled to pay back the money."

Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson announced earlier that he would not sign a controversial bill to reimburse the British and Dutch governments for compensating more than 320,000 savers in their countries who lost money in the collapse of Icesave bank.

Grimsson said he would refer the issue to a referendum instead.

"We expect of the government of Iceland to give us an explanation in the short term of the situation now created and the steps to be taken," said Slotboom.

"The lack of a solution for Icesave is unacceptable."

Asked what steps the Netherlands could take against Iceland, he said: "It is too early to say anything about that now. We will have to discuss it with the United Kingdom, with whom we have jointly taken up this issue."

The Icesave bill, narrowly approved by the Icelandic parliament on December 31, calls for the payout of 3.8 billion euros (5.4 billion dollars) to the British and Dutch governments.

But the payout has stirred up resentment among many ordinary Icelanders hard hit by their country's financial meltdown in October 2008.

Some 60,000 people -- about a quarter of the country's electorate -- have signed a petition protesting against the bill and calling for the issue to be put to a referendum.

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