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THE SEVENTH ROUND OF European Union – Suriname Political Dialogue in the framework of Article 8 of the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement took place on 26 November 2020 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation, Suriname.

The Suriname delegation was headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation, His Excellency Albert Ramdin and included the Minister of Economic Affairs, Entrepreneurship and Technological Innovation, Her Excellency Saskia Walden; the Minister of Justice and Police, His Excellency Kenneth Amoksi; Permanent Secretary Geopolitical Affairs and International Development Cooperation, Ambassador Miriam Mac Intosh; Permanent Secretary Administrative and Consular Affairs, Ambassador Luziano Truideman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation and Director Operational Services of the Ministry of Justice and Police as well as Officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation, Economic Affairs, Entrepreneurship and Technological Innovation, Justice and Police and Finance and Planning. Via video-conference the Ambassador of Suriname to the European Union, Her Excellency Sieglien Burleson and the Charge d’Affairs a.i. of the Embassy of Suriname in Georgetown, Liselle Blankendal joined the meeting.

The EU side was headed by the Ambassador of the European Union His Excellency Mr. Fernando Ponz Canto, and included Ambassador of France to Suriname, His Excellency Mr. Antoine Joly, Charge d’Affaires of Netherlands to Suriname, His Excellency Mr Henk van der Zwan, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation, Ms Evelina Melbarzde, First Counsellor of the Embassy of France, Mr. Jean-Pierre Avannier; First Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mr. Pieter De Vries; Programme Manager of the EU Delegation, Ms Latoya Williams.

The objectives of the dialogue are to exchange information to foster mutual understanding and to facilitate the establishment of agreed priorities and shared agendas in particular by recognizing the existing links between the different aspects of the relations between the parties and the various areas of cooperation as laid down in the Cotonou Agreement.

The two sides engaged in constructive, wide-ranging and frank discussions on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual concern.  Discussions included many issues of common interest for both parties such as political developments and economic affairs; EU-Suriname and regional development cooperation; Post-2020 programming, EU-LAC relation, EU & MS Cooperation; cooperation in multilateral fora; climate change; security; human rights and fight against COVID-19.

The European Union congratulated Suriname for the peaceful and democratic election process that led to a constitution of the new government. The Surinamese side underscored the importance of the new administration to the international principles of democracy and strong democratic institutions, good governance, the rule of law and the respect for human rights. In this context both sides stressed their full commitment to further strengthen EU-Suriname links and partnership. The EU commended the Republic of Suriname on its efforts related to the environment and combating the effects of climate change.

Both sides also noted the development cooperation activities in the amount of approximately 32 million Euros for the period 2014-2020, in various projects ranging from agriculture, infrastructure, climate change, judicial cooperation and civil society capacity building.

During the meeting Ambassador Ponz Canto reiterated the invitation extended to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation His Excellency Albert Ramdin to attend in presence or virtually EU –LAC ministerial meeting that will take place in Berlin on December 14. Minister Ramdin confirmed participation of Suriname.

The two sides concluded by expressing their satisfaction on the usefulness of the dialogue in the context of EU-Surinamese relations, and have agreed to continue the constructive dialogue among the partners and hold next round of the Political Dialogue in 2021.

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