Indonesia, Colombia to strengthen bilateral relation

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, said in the countrys capital city, Bogota, on Monday that his government will strengthen its bilateral relation with Indonesia by expanding cooperation in some sectors.

"Indonesia has a great potential in Southeast and East Asia regions, which has yet to be optimized," Santos added, as quoted by the Ambassador of Indonesia to Colombia Priyo Iswanto, while handing over the letter of confidence at the Palacio Nari'o presidential palace in Bogota.

During the ceremony, the president hoped the two countries could encourage the Pacific Alliance and the Association of Southeast Asia Nations to improve their cooperation, Iswanto stated in its written statement received by ANTARA on Tuesday.

As a new economy bloc comprising of four countries, including Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Peru, the Pacific Alliance has dominated around 34 percent of markets in South America.

Moreover, the bloc has also achieved US$2.16 trillion in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), around $550 million exports, and $570 million imports.

"Colombia has committed to support the alliances integration as well as its cooperation with the ASEAN members," Santos remarked.

As one of the 42 observer countries in the alliance, Indonesia has welcomed the presidents mission to boost cooperation, mainly in trading sector.

However, Iswanto further noted that the wide gap in geographical condition remains a challenge to boost trading between the two countries.

"I hope that in the future, the number of visit from and to both the countries could be increased, so that the geographical challenge could be overcome," the ambassador pointed out.

At the similar occasion, Iswanto also lauded the achievement of the president, who has received the Peace Nobel 2016 because of his effort in halting the clash between the Colombian government and the countrys largest rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

"The Peace Nobel has reflected the recognition of international community for the presidents effort to end a 51-year civil war in Colombia, as well as maintaining peace not only in the country but also in the region and in the world," Iswanto stated while sending a regard from Indonesian President Joko Widodo to Santos.

Iswanto earlier this month met the Colombian Deputy of Foreign Affairs Ministry Patti Londono Jaramillo and discussed about the two countries commitments in increasing exports and imports activities.

During the meeting, the ambassador called on the two authorities to phase out the double tax in order to ease the trading activities in the future.(*)