Netherlands not welcome at Suriname inauguration

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Suriname has announced that the Dutch ambassador is not welcome to Thursday’s inauguration ceremony of Desi Bouterse as president in Paramaribo.

Although Suriname is a former Dutch colony, Desi Bouterse has been persona non grata in the Netherlands since he was convicted, in absentia, for drugs offences in 2000. However, as president he enjoys immunity and the Netherlands must allow him a visa if he wants to visit an international organisation. When Mr Bouterse was elected, caretaker foreign minister Maxime Verhagen said the Netherlands would only contact him 'on the basis of functional necessity’,

The transfer of power is sensitive because Desi Bouterse first came to power in Suriname in a coup d’état in 1980. On 8 December 1982, during his military regime, 15 opponents were tortured and murdered. Later Mr Bouterse admitted formal responsibility for the incident. A trial for the murders has not been concluded. 

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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