Suriname president should be barred: Dutch MP
RNW A Dutch Member of the European Parliament Hans van Baalen says the incoming president of Suriname, Desi Bouterse, should be refused entry to the European Union. The MEP told Radio Netherlands Worldwide: "It seems reasonable to me that such a person should not be allowed to travel to the EU". Mr Bouterse won the presidential election in Suriname, a former Dutch colony, just over a week ago. The former leader of the country's military regime in the 1980s was sentenced in absentia to an 11-year prison term for drugs trafficking by a Dutch court in 1999. Outgoing Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen has said that Suriname's new leader is only welcome in the Netherlands to serve his jail term. Mr Van Baalen has voiced criticism at French President Nicolas Sarkozy for congratulating Mr Bouterse on his election victory. However, the MEP says the incoming Dutch coalition has to be careful how it deals with the new Surinamese government. He believes the people of Suriname should not be allowed to suffer under possible sanctions. The Dutch government's position with regards to Suriname will play an important role in deciding the stance taken by the European parliament, according to Mr Van Baalen. He thinks the Netherlands will be listened to in Brussels.
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