Suriname president’s visit to Netherlands is “really historic,” says Rutte
The "historic" visit of Surinamese President Chan Santokhi to the Netherlands is a "reconfirmation of a friendly relationship," said caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte after a working lunch with the Surinamese head of state in The Hague. Both countries want to do everything they can to deepen ties.
"We want intensive cooperation," said Santokhi. It has been agreed to expand cooperation in the fields of security and justice, as well as in the area of agriculture. The Netherlands will also help the country, a former Dutch colony, to receive support from the International Monetary Fund. The relationship is "fully restored," the president said.
Relations had cooled considerably between 2010 and 2020 when Desi Bouterse was president. He staged a coup in 1980, and was allegedly involved in the December murders two years later. He was also convicted of drug trafficking in the Netherlands. "The name ‘Bouterse’ was not mentioned during the entire conversation," Rutte said.
The Tweede Kamer wants King Willem-Alexander to make a State visit to Suriname this year. In February, the lower house of Parliamenet adopted a motion from the Denk party about this issue. The two countries are not yet at that point, Rutte clearly stated. That will take years of preparation, but so far he sees no obstacles on the horizon.
Santokhi said he will send an invitation to the king.
Santokhi is looking for support in the Netherlands because his country is in a financial crisis. The country of about 600,000 inhabitants has a debt of 4 billion dollars. He is also calling on the Surinamese-Dutch community to actively participate in his country’s affairs. "Get involved with Suriname."
Reporting by ANP.