Still too early for photo of Queen Maxima and Suriname First Lady posing together
A candid picture of Queen Maxima and Ingrid Bouterse, the wife of Suriname president Desi Bouterse, posing together has prompted both countries to hop into defense mode over the weekend.
Queen Maxima and Mrs. Bouterse were both in attendance at the “First ladies Global call to action on women and girls financial health” and the photo had been snapped at a reception hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. It was published by Dutch website Royalty Online and on the private Facebook website of Suriname’s Ambassador to the UN Henry MacDonald.
Information services of both nations immediately hopped into denial mode. The Dutch National Information Service RVD said on Saturday that the photo had been taken during informal meetings. “There were no formal meetings between the Queen and the First Lady. During the reception it is customary that official and informal photos are taken. This concerns an informal photo that was taken without (formal) consent,” RVD stated.
Cliff Limburg, spokesman at the Cabinet of the President in Suriname followed soon with his own statement that said that his office distanced itself from the picture. “The photo was not taken by the staff that traveled to New York with the First Lady and not released by the Cabinet of the President. All photos of Mrs. Bouterse that are released through formal channels are screened before,” Limburg said. The spokesman said the ambassador crossed the lines of protocol.
President Bouterse remains a wanted man in the Netherlands and tensions between the two countries have risen since Suriname amended its amnesty legislation in 2012, which could see Bouterse pardoned for the 1982 December murders of 15 citizens.
This latest storm in a teacup that troubles the relationship between the two countries comes just a few days after Foreign Ministers Winston Lackin and Frans Timmermans agreed –at the same UN General Assembly Queen Maxima and First Lady Bouterse were attending in New York-, to see to a full-fledged restoration of relations between their two countries.
It would appear that it is still too early for a photograph of Suriname’s First Lady and the Dutch Queen posing together.
Ambassador MacDonald has since removed the pictures from his Facebook page.