Balkenende strengthens ties with Surinam

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Dutch Prime Minister pledges a more dignified approach to the “100 percent checks” for passengers flying from Surinam to The Netherlands.

14 May 2008

SURINAM - Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende and Surinamese President Ronald Venetiaan have both emphasised the importance of good relations between their two countries.

On the first day of a two-day state visit to Surinam, the Dutch prime minister said he was impressed by the economic progress and political developments in the former colony.

In connection with drug trafficking, both leaders agreed on the need for the stringent checks made by Dutch customs officials of passengers flying to The Netherlands from Surinam, although Prime Minister Balkenende pledged a more dignified approach in the "100 percent checks".

Balkenende issued a statement on slavery saying that the memory of the victims should always be kept alive. He re-iterated the regrets already expressed by previous governments, although he did not offer an apology for the role played by The Netherlands in the slave trade.

Prime Minister Balkenende and President Venetiaan also discussed the importance of the environment conference scheduled to be held in Surinam in September, which will be attended by some 50 countries and international organisations.

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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