President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana was invited to the kingdom of the Netherlands by Queen Beatrix this week. It was meant to honor the relations between the two countries, as well as discuss economic ties.
But a state dinner confronted the Netherlands’ very undiplomatic past with the west African nation.
During the 1600′s, the Dutch came to Ghana, first for gold and other resources. But then turned to the native people for something far more horrific – the slave trade.
Queen Beatrix, in her toast to her Ghanese guests, said the Netherlands looks back at its role in the “inhumane” slavetrade “with horror”. She praised the contribution of the Ghanese diaspora in Holland to the Dutch fabric. Kufuor in turn hailed Royal Dutch Airlines KLM for never having lost faith in Ghana, by always keeping its route to Accra open. “The most dependable airline and country”, Kufuor said of the Netherlands and KLM.
“I have received many invitations, but this was one I could not turn down”, he told Queen Beatrix at a government luncheon at the majestic Trêves Hall, normally the meeting room of the Dutch government. At the state banquet Tuesday evening at Noordeinde Palace, he elaborated on the good relations between the two countries, urging the Dutch to invest more and to join forces with Ghana.
The King and Queen of Jordan arrived in Brazil earlier today, shortly after it was announced they will be cutting short their visit to the Latin American region.
King Abdullah and Queen Rania were to go to Honduras, Costa Rica and Cuba following their time in Brazil, but for supposedly domestic reasons, they will be leaving the region early instead.
The point of the trip is to broaden Jordan’s economic and political ties with Latin America. It is the first time Abdullah and Rania have toured the area.
Yesterday saw the royals stop by Buenos Aires, Argentina. There the King and Argentine President Cristina Kirchner discussed FTA (free trade agreement) between their two countries. King Abdullah underlined a genuine opportunity for both countries to increase trade volume and investment cooperation in vital sectors such as mining, pharmaceuticals and food industries.
In the presence of the King and Kirchner, officials from the two sides signed agreements designed to boost cooperation in the fields of technology, trade and economy, culture and agriculture.
Kirchner welcomed a plan to hold Jordan Investment Forum in Buenos Aires on October 27. A similar event was organised by the Jordan Investment Board in Chile on Tuesday during the first leg of the King’s Latin American tour.
While Abdullah was meeting with Kirchner, his wife Queen Rania visited the Paula Albarracin de Sarmiento school in Buenos Aires. Unregally dressed in a UNICEF t-shirt and jeans, the Queen showed just how down-to-earth and modern she is as she interacted with the students.
Now, the royals are in Brazil. They are expected to continue expanding their economic ties with the growing Latin American nation, and then return home to Jordan. It is unknown if they will ever make up for not being able to go to the previously mentioned countries.