Indonesia, Bangladesh agree to strengthen bilateral ties

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Bangladesh have agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation, particularly with regard to regional issues.

"Cooperation between Indonesia and Bangladesh is more than bilateral interest, but it is also important to handle the issue of refugees in the region," Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said after holding bilateral talks with her Bangladeshi counterpart.

After attending the ASEAN Retreat in Yangoon on Monday (December 19), Retno Marsudi held bilateral talks with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali in Dhaka on Tuesday, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said in a press statement released the same day.

At the meeting, the two foreign ministers discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation, particularly in the trade and investment fields.

Trade between the two countries reached US$1.4 billion in 2015 and noted that numerous potential opportunities have not been taken advantage of to increase the trade, Retno said.

"With the total market of the two countries reaching more than 400 million people, many opportunities to enhance economic cooperation have not been taken advantage of. Therefore, we must intensify our economic diplomacy in Bangladesh," she said.

As a chief of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) for the 2016-2017 term, the Indonesian foreign minister appreciated the Bangladeshi government for its constant support for Indonesias efforts to strengthen cooperation among IORA member states.

She had extended invitations to IORA foreign ministers to attend a meeting to be held in March 2017, the minister said.

At the meeting, the two foreign ministers also discussed the question of Muslim refugees from Myanmars Rakhine state. The refugees are currently being settled at the Bangladesh-Myanmar borders.

Retno stressed the importance of the Bangladeshi and Myanmarese governments to maintain good relations which may contribute to the management of border areas.

"Good relations and communication between Myanmar and Bangladesh are the key to managing refugees at the borders between the two countries," she said.(*)

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