On Wednesday, January 10, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) Daniel Erikson visited Suriname and had meetings with President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, Minister of Foreign Affairs Albert Ramdin, and Minister of Defense Krishnakoemari Mathoera to discuss furthering regional security cooperation.
In his meetings, Mr. Erikson discussed U.S.-Suriname security cooperation and addressed current regional security challenges including the Venezuela-Guyana border dispute and transnational crime. He also discussed current opportunities and challenges for Suriname, including climate change, the state of Suriname’s oil and gas sector, and the importance of rule of law as displayed in the recent Appellate Court ruling in the murder convictions of former Suriname President Desi Bouterse. He welcomed Suriname’s reaffirmation of its commitment to information sharing agreements to address illicit trafficking and to integrate Suriname in regional security coordination mechanisms.
At a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs he remarked that the United States views Suriname as a critical regional security partner to counter narcotics trafficking and other threats. Commenting that criminal and terrorist activities rarely respected national borders he stated, “Only through regional cooperation as security partners can we effectively respond to shared threats.”
Mr. Erikson praised Suriname’s August 8 agreement to enter the U.S. Department of Defense’s Cooperative Situational Information Integration (CSII) program to share maritime and land track information across the Caribbean as a great example of our deepening cooperation. He was noted that the two countries would be concluding negotiations for Suriname to enter a similar information sharing program, the Aerial Intercept Assistance Agreement (AIAA), in the coming weeks. The United States believes that Surinamese participation in these regional information sharing systems will provide a shared understanding of the air and sea traffic that will allow regional allies to collectively respond to malign activities.
Erikson concluded his remarks: “The U.S. seeks to be the principal security cooperation partner to Suriname. As Suriname’s democracy continues to grow our security cooperation grows and benefits both of our countries.”