Guyana and Suriname are both represented at the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement underway in Iran, where Syria, Palestine and Iran's alleged attempt to build nuclear weapons will dominate the agenda of the summit.
And, in spite of Washington and Tel Aviv's pressure, the UN Secretary General, Ban ki Moon, President Morsi of Egypt, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Pakistan's President Zardari, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wajid and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Thani, have arrived in Iran for the summit, an indication of Iran's importance in the region.
However, the presidents of both Guyana and Suriname are staying home. Guyana's President Donald Ramotar visited Iran in 2010 during the presidential visit of former Guyana president, Bharrat Jagdeo.
After much deliberations, Guyana finally sent Narine Nawbatt, Guyana's High Commissioner to Canada and former Ambassador to Brazil to Tehran. Due to protracted domestic interests, Ramotar preferred to remain home according to the foreign minister of Guyana, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, who is currently chairing the Caribbean Development Cooperation Committee in El Salvador all week.
This is the lowest level of participation for Guyana at a NAM summit in recent times. Previous summits in Colombia, Cuba, Malaysia and Egypt were attended at the head of state and foreign ministerial level. It could very well signal a cooling off in Guyana/Iranian relations. The visit of Iranian deputy foreign minister, Amir Mansour Borgehei to Guyana in June to invite Ramotar to the summit didn't make the news and, more recently, Canada has undertaken to map Guyana's mineral resources, something that Iran had promised Guyana during the presidency of Bharrat Jagdeo.
Suriname, which has never been a major player in the Non-Aligned Movement, is being represented by Michel Kerpens, Ambassador at Large, and Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Iran and Suriname have close ties and recently signed several bilateral agreements.
On the issue of Palestine, both Guyana and Suriname are staunch allies of Palestine and have recognized Palestine as an independent state, and on Syria, they have both remained neutral on the issue and have called for UN mediation and not regime change. Both Georgetown and Paramaribo have advocated reforming international financial institutions and the United Nations Security Council to avoid "interference and intervention in the internal affairs of other countries," which is one of the major principles of NAM.
Fifty heads of states are expected to convene in Iran, according to the Iranian government, and for them this is an indication that Iran is really not as isolated as the US asserts.