Suriname and The Netherlands government officials are welcoming improved relations between the two countries, touting the success of the first-ever virtual trade mission as part of the new initiative.
Relationship between the two countries had been strained under the former Desi Bouterse government with the former president on July 16, 1999, being convicted in absentia in the Netherlands to 11 years in prison for trafficking 474 kilograms of cocaine.
Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, said that a new phase has begun with the entry into office of the new government in Paramaribo.
“We hope that the Surinamese population will soon reap the benefits of this major change. The Netherlands would like to help with this on the basis of a fully-fledged partnership. We look forward to intensifying the ties with Suriname,” she said.
She said the imminent appointment of an ambassador to each other’s country is a further symbol of the renewed relationship.
Next week, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Foreign Affairs Minister, Stef Blok, will lead a delegation to the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country mainly for the independence celebration and Kaag said this should be seen as “a beautiful confirmation of the friendship and solidarity between Suriname and the Netherlands”.
Economic Affairs, Entrepreneurship and Technological Innovation Minister, Saskia Walden, said the relationship has taken on a new meaning with the election of the Santokhi government, adding that it is a win-win situation for both the countries.
Transport, Communication and Tourism Minister, Albert Jubithana, spoke of the opportunities within the tourism sector as well as developing trade relationships between the Netherlands and Suriname.
The incoming Dutch ambassador to Suriname, Henk van der Zwan, said he also welcomed Suriname’s move to attract foreign investors to the country.
He said the new government has established the international business unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the appointment of trade attachés to foreign posts and the establishment of the diaspora institute, urging also the need for a Surinamese-Dutch business forum.