Suriname appoints military-era killings suspect as ambassador to Turkey

PARAMARIBO – President Desi Bouterse has appointed retired politician and diplomat Errol Alibux as Ambassador to Turkey. Seemingly wanting to pre-empt criticism that this job could have been given to someone younger,  the President said he considers relations with Turkey far too important to leave it up to an inexperienced or young diplomat. Bouterse is convinced that Alibux can do an excellent job in the interest of both countries, he said during Mr Alibux’s swearing in ceremony on Tuesday.

Mr Alibux was appointed non-residing Ambassador, which means he will do his work out of Suriname. Mr Alibux is a suspect in the court case over the 1982 killing of 15 Surinamese opponents to the military regime headed by Bouterse at the time. The Netherlands has blocked Schengen countries from issuing visa to any of the suspects. Mr Alibux, however, claims that this would not keep him from travelling to Turkey.

Mr Alibux is former leader of the Progressive Union of Labourers and Agricultural Workers (PALU), one of two political parties that backed up Mr Bouterse’s military rule in the 80ies. In 1983 he was appointed Prime Minister, but after a major strike in the bauxite industry, Bouterse sacked the cabinet. During the Wijdenbosch administration in the 90ies, Alibux was Minister of Natural Resources. In 2003 he was sentenced to one year in prison for forgery and fraud.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Lackin promised that the government is seriously dedicated to establishing a Surinamese training program for diplomats.

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