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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08PARAMARIBO33 2008-01-30 18:47:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paramaribo
Cable title:  

NATIONAL INTEREST FUELS FRENCH EXPANSION OF

Tags:   EAID PREL ENRG SOCI NS 
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VZCZCXYZ0009
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPO #0033/01 0301847
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301847Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9933
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 1515
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0162
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
					C O N F I D E N T I A L PARAMARIBO 000033 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR JROSHOLT; SOUTHCOM FOR J5

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/29/2013
TAGS: EAID PREL ENRG SOCI NS
SUBJECT: NATIONAL INTEREST FUELS FRENCH EXPANSION OF
DEVELOPMENT AID TO SURINAME


Classified By: Political-Economic Section Chief Geneve Menscher for rea
sons 1.4(b) and (d)



1. (C) Summary. The Government of France (GOF) will
significantly expand its development assistance to Suriname,
particularly in its economically depressed eastern district,
Marowijne, which borders French Guiana. This aid will be
provided mainly by the Agence Francaise de Developpement
(AFD). Increased French government concern over immigration
and border security are among the factors that motivated
increasing funding for Suriname. End Summary.



2. (SBU) French Embassy Cooperation Attache Amelina Serra
confirmed to Econoff on January 17 local media reports that
France will significantly expand its development aid to
Suriname. Focus areas will be health care, transportation,
environment and tourism. According to the media, France
provided 3.8 million Euros between 2000 and 2007 and will
provide 51 million Euros from 2008 to 2010. During the
meeting, Serra confirmed to Econoff that French aid will
significantly increase, but said the exact amount was not
final as some projects are still under discussion with the
Government of Suriname (GOS).



3. (C) According to Serra, traditionally the Agence Francaise
de Developpement (AFD) primarily (though not exclusively)
focused aid on former French colonies, although Suriname did
receive some development aid. However, the current French
government's increased interest in immigration issues and
border security has generated greater interest in development
projects in Suriname. The AFD Cayenne Office apparently made
a successful case that such projects were in the French
national interest, and even took the rare step of making
grants, and not just loans, to Suriname. AFD is considering
posting an AFD officer to the French Embassy here. Some
highlights on planned French assistance follow:



4. (SBU) The Government of France (GOF) and GOS signed a new
agreement extending existing technical assistance on health
care from 2008-2011 and also adding a new component -- a loan
to reopen the Albina Hospital (Note: Albina is the official
capital of Suriname's Marowijne District, located just across
the Marowijne River from French Guiana). The GOF calculated
it would cost less to improve medical facilities in Suriname
than continue treating the large numbers of Surinamers who
cross the border to take advantage of the free health care
services in French Guiana. The loan amount also provides for
constructing some local medical facilities in Suriname's
interior. The French Embassy considered it a "small victory"
to get the GOS to accept this aid as a loan, since the GOS
prefers grant aid.



5. (C) In order to stem illegal immigration to French Guiana,
the AFD is studying 20-50 projects (such as improving
infrastructure) that would improve the standard of living in
Albina and assist the district government in re-locating from
Moengo to Albina. (Note: The government offices have been
located in Moengo "temporarily" since the end of the Interior
War. End Note). Outside loans from the Inter-American
Development Bank and others will augment the infrastructure
projects.



6. (SBU) A study on rehabilitating the road between Albina
and Paramaribo will be completed in 2008. The road
construction project will be financed by the AFD, European
Community (EC) and the Inter-American Development Bank.
(Note: Serra underscored that twenty-five percent of EC
funding is French. End Note.) The GOS has also requested
construction of a bridge to link the two countries within the
next few years. The GOF has started a technical study on
bridge construction; however, lingering concerns over the
impact of improved transportation links on immigration,
international crime, and border security will continue to
dampen the GOF's enthusiasm for the project. Serra estimated
the bridge project is likely fifteen years in the future.



7. (SBU) French development aid will also be used in the
energy sector. A 2007 study to determine the feasibility of
connecting the energy systems of Suriname and French Guiana
resulted in a two-phase plan. Phase 1 of the resulting plan,
to set up a power line between Paramaribo and Albina, is
ready to be implemented; Phase 2 would initiate
energy-sharing between French Guiana and Suriname. Since
there are no plans to build additional energy plants in
French Guiana, which has energy shortages, it would benefit
from energy obtained from Suriname. This has been

complicated by the Kyoto Protocol, Serra confided, because
France is restricted from buying that energy generated from
Suriname's mostly diesel-burning power plants. As Suriname
can look to bauxite companies to develop new energy generator
stations to feed their production needs for energy, Serra
opined that Suriname may not have the need or political will
to move forward on Phase 2 of the project.



8. (SBU) The French Embassy is currently developing with the
GOS several law-enforcement aid projects. Jacques Bouhail,
Technical Cooperation Officer, shared key elements of the
plan which would focus on the Suriname-French Guiana border
area. Once finalized, aid would include intensified
technical cooperation on border security, setting up a
firefighting/first-aid rescue unit in Albina, and English and
French language courses for law enforcement officials working
on security cooperation.



9. (C) Comment. The increased French development assistance
provides a useful political opportunity for the GOS to
promote economic development in the economically depressed
District of Marowijne. As the District's major employer,
SURALCO (wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. aluminum giant
ALCOA), begins to wind down operations in the soon-to-be
depleted bauxite mines in the center of Marowijne District,
this former cash cow of the country has witnessed an economic
downturn. In addition to needed economic development, the
GOS engagement with the GOF also gives the governing
coalition a "pork barrel" means to placate rogue coalition
partner (and Marowijne parliamentarian) Ronnie Brunswijk.
Media coverage of the increase in French aid should foster a
good perception of Suriname's neighbor to the east, provided
the media does not focus on the GOF's underlying objective to
discourage additional Surinamese migration. End Comment.
SCHREIBER HUGHES