The Hague considered invasion of Suriname
The Netherlands and the United States drew up plans for a joint invasion of Suriname back in 1986. The military operation would have involved closing down the South American country's main airport, taking control of key roads and neutralising the Surinamese armed forces and army command.
The existence of these plans has just been revealed by Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal and Defence Minister Hans Hillen in a letter to parliament they wrote on behalf of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
The letter is a response to questions from the opposition Socialist Party, which were prompted by a reconstruction of events at that time, published by national newspaper . In the reconstruction former ministers confirmed that the arrest of then army commander Desi Bouterse - who controlled Suriname in 1986 - was part of the operation’s objectives.
The Dutch government at the time was seriously worried about the security of thousands of Dutch citizens living in Suriname, a former Dutch colony which gained full independence in 1975. The deployment of Dutch troops was considered as a means to restore law and order, protect Dutch and US nationals and, if necessary, evacuate them from Suriname.
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