Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Suriname Yldiz Deborah Pollack-Beighle, Paramaribo, July 27, 2019
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the senior Surinamese officials – President Desi Delano Bouterse, Vice-President Michael Ashwin Adhin and Foreign Minister Yldiz Deborah Pollack-Beighle – as well as all our Surinamese colleagues for their hospitality.
We have had constructive talks held in a friendly, comradely and considerate atmosphere, which allowed us to exchange opinions on a wide range of topics, including virtually all spheres of our bilateral cooperation, as well as to map out new areas where we can potentially apply our joint efforts in a positive manner.
Suriname is an old partner of Russia in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Next year we will mark 45 years of our diplomatic relations. We agreed to continue to work as partners in the spirit of the agreements we have reached over the past few years.
I believe the most important of these agreements is the Treaty on Basic Relations Between the Russian Federation and Suriname, which was signed last year and became effective in January 2019. The Intergovernmental Visa Waiver Agreement for Russian citizens travelling to Suriname and Surinamese citizens travelling to Russia came into effect in May of this year.
During our meetings with the president and vice-president of Suriname, as well as during the talks with the foreign minister, we confirmed our interest in intensifying political dialogue between Russia and Suriname, including at the level of foreign ministries. We also discussed plans for trade, economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian cooperation.
Our meeting with the vice-president, which was also attended by the ministers of trade and tourism, education, justice, natural resources and defence, focused on practical proposals for promoting our cooperation in respective spheres. We will analyse these proposals and will take them to the concerned ministries back in Moscow. I hope this will help to prepare the ground for a constructive and fruitful visit by Surinamese delegations of business people and representatives of the concerned ministries, which will facilitate contacts with their Russian colleagues under the auspices of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
We pointed out the favourable conditions for the strengthening of cooperation in education, including the training of Surinamese professionals in Russia. We have agreed to increase the number of scholarships for the training of Surinamese students at Russian universities. We also mentioned the positive results of the training of Surinamese diplomats at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy. We made a point of the possibility of training Surinamese law enforcement personnel at the training centres of the Interior Ministry in Russia and the regional centres in Nicaragua and Peru.
We also offer advanced training courses for rescue workers, including at the regional training centre which the Russian Emergencies Ministry has opened in Havana. I believe that Suriname, which is prone to natural disasters, will be interested in sending its professionals to this centre.
We provide and will continue to provide healthcare assistance to Suriname. As Foreign Minister Pollack-Beighle has already said, in early July we donated neonatal medical equipment as well as assisted ventilation equipment to our partners.
We also discussed the strengthening of the legal framework of our cooperation. We are working on an extradition agreement and an agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, as well as documents on military and military technology cooperation and on cultural exchanges.
We also shared opinions on current international and regional topics. Suriname and Russia have identical views when it comes to the importance of strict compliance with international law and the UN Charter, as well as on the UN’s central role in addressing any problems peacefully and without any foreign interference. We are grateful to our Surinamese friends for co-authoring our initiatives, including at the UN, such as resolutions on combating the glorification of Nazism, on no first placement of weapons in outer space, on confidence-building measures in outer space activities, as well as on international cybersecurity and cybercrime.
Of course, we also talked about regional matters. There is mutual interest in building up cooperation, including a political dialogue, between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states and the Russian Federation. Our Surinamese colleagues, together with the other CARICOM states, are willing to resume meetings at the level of foreign ministers. The idea of expanding our ties with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) has been supported.
Russia and Suriname hold identical views on a majority of regional problems, including the Venezuelan crisis. We and our Surinamese friends believe that it can only be settled through direct dialogue between the government and the opposition without any preconditions, let alone threats, which have been directed at Caracas from some capitals.
I am sincerely grateful to our colleagues for organising our work in a manner that allowed us to efficiently discuss a great number of subjects. I would like to express my gratitude to my colleague and friend.