(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – The meeting between Suriname and the European Union (EU) scheduled for 17 and 18 May will now be held in Paramaribo on 30 May. At the meeting, development issues will be discussed, as well as human rights in general and the recently amended Amnesty Act.
The meeting has been rescheduled due to preparations for the Caricom-Mexico Summit of 21 May in Barbados, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Lackin tells de Ware Tijd. The Minister says relations with the EU are excellent and the goal is to deepen and broaden those. The government is looking forward to the consultations with the EU in the framework of the so-called Article 8 Political Dialogue included in the Cotonou-agreement between the EU and ACP countries. This is the first time Suriname and the EU will hold this dialogue, and the agenda proposed by the EU contains economic issues, cooperation, and human rights and governance, including effects of the Amnesty Act, the truth and reconciliation commission, migration, and regional relations. Lackin says the EU attaches much importance to relations with Suriname, as it is the only country in the region that directly borders EU territory, namely French Guiana.
Meanwhile, Suriname’s policy is also one of improving relations with individual EU member states, Lackin says, and France plays a crucial role in these efforts. The Minister adds he cannot anticipate the policies of the new French President Francois Hollande for now, but he believes existing policy will be continued, “especially in the area of agrarian cooperation.”