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Suriname-Brazil sign cooperation agreements

September 14th, 2009

suriname-flagDuring an official visit of Suriname’s Foreign Minister to Brazil, several agreements were signed to advance cooperations between the two neighbouring countries. Bilateral talks between minister Lygia Kraag-Keteldijk and her Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim were focussed on foreign policy, security, agriculture, trade, infrastructure, physical integration, immigration and development of bio-fuel industry in Suriname.

In a bid to expand bilateral trade the two delegations argued that regular shipping connections between Brazil and Suriname need to be put in place. During the visit several agreements in the field of education, police cooperation, agriculture, health and vocational training were signed.

According to the Suriname Ministry of Foreign Affairs both officials expressed their satisfaction over the bilateral relations, which are improving since the official meeting of president Ronald Venetiaan and president Luis Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva from Brazil in December 2008 in Bahia, Brazil.

Both ministers mentioned the fact that Suriname just last week paid off its longstanding debt of US$. 74 million to Brazil. Proposals from Brazil to assist Suriname to establish and develop a bio-fuel industry were also discussed. In this regard several preparational activities has been undertaken already in Suriname.

Due to the large number of Brazilian nationals in Suriname the two delegations agreed to establish a mechanism to exchange information in order to solve immigration related issues.

With allegedly over 20,000 Brazilians living in Suriname, mostly illegal immigrants, this country is thought to have the largest community of Brazilians in any Caricom nation. The majority of these immigrants work in the small-scale mining sector in the country’s remote interior.

During the talks in Brazil, Suriname also tabled its intention to build a road to its border with this country to facilitates Suriname’s physical integration with South-America. Brazil noted that it is fully committed to support the plans from the Surinamese government and promised technical assistance as soon as implementation of the road project starts.

For years Suriname is contemplating construction of a road to connect with its southern neighbour. Already there are road connections with French Guiana in the east and Guyana in the west. Currently the Southdrain Road is being asphalted with financing from the European Union to boost passenger travel and movement of goods with Guyana.

By Ivan Cairo

Caribbean Net News Suriname Correspondent


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