Indonesia minister rejects proposal to extend visa-free facility to Israel

Indonesia minister rejects proposal to extend visa-free facility to Israel

Rizal Ramli. (ANTARA/Sigid Kurniawan)

We have rejected it."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesia Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli has rejected a proposal to offer free visa facility to Israel.

"There is a proposal to offer free visa facility to Israel. We have rejected it," the coordinating minister said through his Twitter account, @RamliRizal, here on Monday night.

Minister Rizal posted the tweet in response to a question posed by one of his followers who was seeking the truth behind recent media reports that Indonesia had offered visa-free facility to Israel.

The ministers tweet also clarified earlier reports claiming that Israel was one of the countries to have received the free visa facility from Indonesia.

The Indonesian government had earlier increased the number of countries to receive its free visa facility to 84 nations.

The facility will come into effect starting this week. Australia, Brazil, Ukraina, Kenya, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Kamerun, Palestine, Honduras, Pakistan, and Mongolia are among the countries whose nationals would no longer require a visa to gain entry into Indonesia.

Other recipient countries to be granted the free visa facility are Sierra Leone, Uruguay, Bosnia Herzegovina, Costa Rika, Albania, Mozambik, Macedonia, El Salvador, Zambia, Moldova, Madagascar, Goergia, Namibia, Kiribati, Armenia, Bolivia, Bhutan, Guatemala, Mauritania, and Paraguay.

Rizal expressed hope that the extension of the free visa facilities to recipient countries would boost foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia.

The government has set a target to attract 20 million foreign tourists by 2019. Some 10 million foreign tourists are expected to visit Indonesia this year.

The extension of visa-free facilities to 47 countries last October has boosted foreign tourist arrivals by 19 percent, far higher than the normal growth, which so far was about six to eight percent per annum.
(Uu.A014/INE/KR-BSR)

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