Peter Hoekstra, the new U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, apologized on Saturday for denying controversial statements he made two years ago about so-called “no-go zones" in Muslim communities in Europe.

Speaking with a Dutch reporter for news program Nieuwsuur, Hoekstra said his 2015 comments about how cars and politicians were being burned in Muslim neighborhoods in Europe was "fake news."

Later in the interview he backtracked, denying that he called it fake news.

The assertion Hoekstra, who was born in the Netherlands, made about certain areas where Muslims are known to be hostile to non-Muslims has been widely debunked.

On Saturday Hoekstra tweeted out an apology for "certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview."

Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman for Michigan from 1993 to 2011 who served as chairman of the House intelligence panel, was sworn in as ambassador earlier this month by Vice President Mike Pence.