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Netherlands Retaliates For Move Against Its Ambassador

January 11, 1987

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ In a tit-for-tat move, the government asked Suriname to recall its top diplomatic envoy in the Netherlands, the Foreign Ministry announced early Sunday.

The diplomatic move late Saturday against Surinamese Charge d’Affaires Carlo Spier, the former Dutch colony’s senior diplomat in the Netherlands, was the ″mirror image″ of a Surinamese request earlier in the day, ministry spokesman Peter van Vliet said.

In that request, the government of military strongman Desi Bouterse accused the Dutch ambassador to Paramaribo, Dirk Jan van Houten, of ″interfering impermissibly in the internal affairs of Suriname,″ Van Vliet said.

The Dutch government was asked to withdraw Van Houten by Jan. 25, according to Van Vliet, who said it will comply. The same deadline applies to Spier’s withdrawal, he said.

″There is no question of breaking diplomatic relations,″ Van Vliet said, but added the Netherlands ″has communicated to the Surinamese government that we protest (their) motivation″ for asking Van Houten be recalled.

No one at the Surinamese Embassy could be reached for comment.

The diplomatic row followed last week’s remarks by Surinamese Foreign Minister Henk Herrenberg, who accused the Netherlands of supporting an anti- government guerilla group led by former Bouterse bodyguard Ronnie Brunswijk.

Herrenberg also questioned whether the Netherlands should continue to be represented in Suriname at the ambassadorial level.

The Dutch government has repeatedly denied Suriname’s accusations, and said at the time of Herrenberg’s remarks that it had no plans to reduce the level of its representation in Paramaribo.

Dutch-Surinamese relations have been severely strained since the December 1982 executions of 15 prominent opposition leaders by Surinamese soldiers.

The Netherlands subsequently suspended a $1.5-billion aid package to the tiny South American nation, which is facing severe economic problems, and said the aid would not be resumed until Bouterse takes concrete steps toward restoring democracy.

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