Surinamese president to address Dutch parliament
Surinamese president Chan Santokhi will address the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, during his visit to the Netherlands next month. An address to parliament is a rarely awarded diplomatic honor in the Netherlands and marks the restoration of good ties with Suriname, Trouw reports.
Santokhi and part of his government will visit The Hague and Prime Minister Mark Rutte on September 8 and 9.
The relationship between the Netherlands and Suriname was under pressure for some time because of the presidency of Desi Bouterse, who was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the Netherlands. Restoration of this relationship between the Netherlands and one of its former colonies started when Santokhi won the election in May last year and got sworn in as president in July.
Foreign heads of state sporadically addressed a "united meeting" of the Dutch Senate and parliament in the past. King Hussein of Jordan did so in 1997, French president Francois Mitterand in 1984. The reverse is somewhat more common, with Queen Beatrix as head of state addressing the American Congress in 1982, the Israeli Knesset in 1995, and the European Parliament in 2004.