The Council of Ministers has approved the appointment of Henk van der Zwan as ambassador in Suriname, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports Monday. He has been temporary charge d’affaires in Paramaribo since 1 September.
The appointment will only become definitive if the Surinamese government agrees with the cabinet’s choice. Upon approval, the Netherlands will have an ambassador in Suriname for the first time since 2017.
In that year, the Netherlands appointed a new ambassador, but he was not allowed to enter Suriname because the local government had withdrawn its permission. Then president Desi Bouterse also announced that he was not in favor of a Surinamese ambassador in the Netherlands.
The relationship between the two countries came under pressure under Bouterse’s presidency. Since July Suriname has a new president, Chan Santokhi. Shortly after his election victory, he announced that he would strengthen the ties.
That same month, Foreign Minister Stef Blok announced that both the Netherlands and Suriname want to appoint ambassadors again. Suriname announced at the beginning of this month that Rajendre Khargi will be the new ambassador for Suriname in the Netherlands.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasizes that the appointment of Van der Zwan is an “important step” in the renewed relationship between the two countries. It also contributes “to a positive and fruitful cooperation”.
Van der Zwan has also been appointed ambassador to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. He previously held that position in Estonia and Canada.