The "historic" visit of Surinamese President Chan Santokhi to The Hague is a "reaffirmation of the friendly relationship" between the two countries.

That said outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Wednesday after a working lunch with Santokhi in The Hague.

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The Surinamese president is in the Netherlands this week to strengthen the ties between the two countries.

The visit was already planned for earlier this year, but was postponed due to the corona crisis.

It is the first time in more than ten years that a Surinamese president will visit The Hague.

Both countries want to do everything they can to deepen ties.

"We want intensive cooperation," said Santokhi.

It has been agreed to expand cooperation in the field of security and justice, as well as in the field of agriculture.

It is not yet known what this collaboration will look like.

Relations between Suriname and the Netherlands cooled sharply between 2010 and 2020 when Desi Bouterse was president.

Bouterse committed a coup in 1980 and was involved in the December murders two years later.

In the Netherlands he was convicted of drug trafficking.

But according to Rutte, the two did not discuss that on Wednesday.

"The name Bouterse has not been mentioned in the entire conversation."

At the beginning of this year, the House adopted a motion calling for a state visit by the king to the former colony.

It is not that far yet, Rutte made clear.

That takes years of preparation, but he sees no obstacles.

Santokhi said he will send an invitation to the king.

Santokhi wants help from Dutch people with Surinamese roots

Santokhi is looking for support in the Netherlands because Suriname is in a financial crisis.

Earlier this week, he called on the Surinamese-Dutch community (more than 350,000 people) to actively interfere in his country.

"Get involved with Suriname."

Santokhi will also meet members of the Surinamese community in the Netherlands this week.

Suriname wants to make the most of the diaspora in developing its country, Santokhi said.

To facilitate this, he wants to make traveling between Suriname and the Netherlands easier.

For example, there are plans to make visa-free travel from Suriname to the Netherlands possible.

A meeting between Santokhi and the House of Representatives is on the agenda for Thursday.

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