Indonesia to be consistently present in S. Pacific: Senior Minister

Indonesia to be consistently present in S. Pacific: Senior Minister

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. (ANTARA/M. Agung Rajasa/P003)

This is important to show Indonesia's seriousness."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia will be consistently present in the South Pacific by sending ministers to 16 countries in the region, Indonesias Coordinating Minister for Political, Security and Legal Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said here Thursday.

"To Prime Minister Josaia Bainimarama and foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola I have conveyed that we will be consistently present in the region," he said during his visit to Fiji.

During the visit he had met with Prime Minister Bainimarama, Minister of Agriculture, Resettlement, Maritime and Disaster Mitigation Affairs Ina Seriaritu and had a lunch with minister Kubuabola, Luhut said in a written statement received here this evening.

At the meetings he reiterated Indonesias commitment to help and cooperate with Fiji, in the economic, fishery, agricultural, cultural and military fields.

The cooperation in the military field includes disaster mitigation management, such as training to deal with disaster and in peacekeeping affairs.

"I hope the ministers of agriculture and trade will soon come to Indonesia to realize the cooperation. This is important to show Indonesia's seriousness," he said.

Regarding the Melanesian Spearhead Group issue, Luhut said that it had been touched upon in the meeting with Foreign Minister Kubuabola.

Minister Kubuabola revealed the wish of the government of Fiji to propose upgrading the status of Indonesia at the MSG from an associate member to a full member to strengthen Indonesias position in the group of Melanesian countries, he said.

He would report it to President Joko Widodo and discuss it with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on his arrival home, Luhut said in response to it.

After completing his agenda in Fiji, minister Luhut left Suva Thursday evening for Port Moresby for a two-day official visit to Papua New Guinea.

(Reporting by Syaiful Hakim/Uu.H-YH/INE/KR-BSR/F001)