Reliable partner at the centre of Europe
Belarus and Indonesia agree to activate co-operation across all areas
President Alexander Lukashenko’s recent meeting with the Speaker of the Regional Representatives Council of the People’s Consultative Assembly of Indonesia, Irman Gusman, has stressed the long-time partnership of our two countries. No topics are closed in our bilateral relations and we have enjoyed diplomatic relations since 1993. In 2011, Belarus opened an embassy in Indonesia, with ‘a return move from Indonesia now expected’, underlined the President.
Economics are the foundation for all contact between states. Last year, Belarusian-Indonesian trade reached about $215 million. Although modest, both sides believe there to be huge potential for expanding this trade-economic co-operation. Spheres have been outlined, with bilateral trade set to rise by 70 percent.
Mr. Lukashenko recalled that, during his visit to Indonesia in 2013, our countries reached an agreement to shift from simple trade to co-operative ties. “Our machine building companies are ready to enter the Indonesian market, setting up joint companies,” he noted, adding that joint companies can help move forward Belarusian-Indonesian contacts.
The Head of State sees major prospects in inter-regional collaboration with Indonesia, emphasising, “Enhanced inter-regional contacts could bring serious progress in Belarusian-Indonesian interaction. Inter-regional interaction always brings good results; we can cite contacts with other states as an example.”
Mr. Lukashenko underlines that the next session of the Belarusian-Indonesian Joint Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Co-operation will take place in early summer. “Topics explored in recent years and agreements reached during the parliamentary visit of the Indonesian delegation should be on the agenda of the session,” the Head of State is convinced.
The President has assured the Indonesians that Belarus is interested in advancing relations, asserting, “You have a reliable partner at the centre of Europe. However, the depth and breadth of our relations will depend on the goodwill of your leadership.”
Mr. Gusman has agreed to advance bilateral trade to a new level and notes that Belarusian equipment and technologies would be useful, since Indonesia is modernising all branches of its economy. He explained, “I’m convinced that the present volume of trade between our countries — $215 million — is insufficient. I also agree with your statement that we should work together to greatly raise the figure. I hope that by the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Belarusian-Indonesian diplomatic ties, in 2018, we’ll have raised trade turnover to $1bn.”
The Speaker of the Indonesian Parliament believes that consistent efforts are required on both sides at all levels: through diplomacy, our parliaments, and the private sector. He views our geographical locations (Belarus at the centre of Europe and Indonesia as an important country in Southeast Asia) as useful in accomplishing our goals.
Mr. Gusman assured Mr. Lukashenko that Indonesia will soon open its embassy in Minsk, aiming to promote bilateral contacts. He notes that Belarusian-Indonesian contacts should not be limited to trade and investment but should include science, education, culture, youth policy and sport. “This is an important supplement which can shape our future,” he said.
The Speaker of the Indonesian Parliament also touched upon the issue of peace and security, praising the contribution of the Belarusian President towards stabilising the situation in the region regarding events in Ukraine. “The Minsk agreements have attracted the attention of the whole international community,” noted the Indonesian guest, expressing confidence that the agreements will be implemented and peace will return to the region.
The results of negotiations are clear, with the two countries viewing each other as a worthy partner. Indonesia perceives Belarus as a good economic stronghold in the Eurasian Economic Union, while offering access to Western Europe. Meanwhile, Belarus views Indonesia as a ‘key’ to Southeast Asia, being a ‘backbone’ of such integration unions as ASEAN, APEC and G20.
By Vladimir Khromov