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Suriname expands foreign policy frontier at Ivory Coast meeting
Published on July 17, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

Foreign Ministers Mevlut Çavuşoğlu of Turkey and Yildiz Pollack-Beighle of Suriname

By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor

ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire -- Foreign Minister Yildiz Pollack-Beighle of Suriname attended, the 44th Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting in Côte d'Ivoire from July 10-11, and used the forum to press ahead with her country’s push to expand ties with non-traditional partners outside of the European Union, the United States and Canada.

The minister had a robust schedule at the Abidjan meeting where she addressed the gathering and held a number of meetings with her counterparts from OIC countries.

Suriname, which is facing economic recession, recently walked away from harsh IMF austerity terms. Paramaribo has been able to do so because it has the support of the Islamic Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. The Islamic Bank is an organ of the OIC, which is assisting Suriname’s economy recovery after a drop in commodity exports and has become a new foreign policy frontier that Paramaribo has accelerated ties with.

Pollack-Beighle and her Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, held bilateral talks to discuss areas of cooperation and projects that should be brought to speed.

Turkey, the 17th largest economy, will continue to assist Suriname through the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA). Suriname is still interested in a cooperation agreement with Turkish Airlines, and several other agreements and projects that are yet to be fully implemented.

A high level visit from Turkey to Suriname and possibly to Guyana has been an ongoing discussion for the past five years.

In 2013, both Turkey and Suriname signed a bilateral agreement on “friendship and cooperation” in the areas of culture, science, trade, tourism and technology.

The two countries have yet to conclude an open skies aviation agreement that is suitable to both parties. This may pave the way for Turkish Airlines to cooperate with state-owned Surinam Airways, which is in need of capital investment.

In addition to Turkey, Pollack-Beighle held bilateral discussions with her counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Cote d’Ivoire, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Guinea and Gambia. The minister said that there are agreements for cooperation and further development in the field of trade and economic cooperation, education and capacity building, aviation and tourism with OIC members.

To expand such ties, she will move to appoint non-resident ambassadors and honorary consuls to promote South-South cooperation and the implementation of various projects.

According to Pollack-Beighle, the theme of the meeting 'Youth, Peace and Development in a World of Solidarity' was very fitting because the vast majority of the populations of the OIC member countries are young people. She called for the development of mechanisms to allow youth participation and development. And in particular, for a mechanism within the OIC to allow such. Pollack-Beighle called on the OIC to set up a fund with the purpose of investing in youth development.

Meanwhile, the Guyana foreign minister, Carl Greenidge, who also attended the OIC foreign ministers meeting in Abidjan, held bilateral talks with a number of countries. Guyana is looking to expand ties with the 15-nation West African bloc, ECOWAS, another new foreign policy frontier, in addition to the Middle East, Central Asia, Far East giants like Malaysia and Indonesia, in light of current global social, political and economic unrest and changing alliances.
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