Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, hoped for strengthening people-to-people contact between Indonesian and Russian communities, in a bid to intensify the cooperation between the two countries.

In a press statement, received by ANTARA on Wednesday, the minister stated that during her visit to Moscow, Russia, she had expressed hoped that Russian nationals, who are rather fond of Indonesia, would continue to be friends with the country, in order to ultimately strengthen the relationship between Russia and Indonesia.

"The Indonesian enthusiasts acted as ambassadors for both countries," she noted.

The minister met approximately 30 Russian nationals, who were keen on everything about Indonesia, at the Indonesian Embassy in Moscow. He was accompanied by Indonesian Ambassador to Russia and Belarus, M Wahid Supriyadi.

These friends of Indonesia were not only elderly Russian citizens, who have known Indonesia since the 1950s, but also the young Russian generation, who can play Javanese gamelan and sing traditional folk songs. Many of them are even fluent in Indonesian.

Furthermore, Marsudi admired Russians? deep love for Indonesia and appreciated their contribution towards the development of the relations between the two nations.

She believed that there was an immense opportunity for cooperation between Indonesia and Russia, including in the economic field. The value of bilateral trade between Indonesia and Russia, which only reached US$2.5 billion, is still considered to be too small when compared to the population of both the countries.

"The total population of Indonesia and Russia, which has reached 406 million, is not comparable to the current trade value between the two countries," she remarked.

Chairman of the Board of Cooperation and Friendship with Indonesia (LKPI), Sergei Shakhrai, who attended the meeting, remarked that the board will continue to encourage, seek, and develop cooperation between both the countries, including in innovative fields.

"LKPI has coordinated friendly relations and cooperation with Indonesia and is always ready to welcome efforts to establish cooperation with the country," Shakhrai revealed.

He is one of the founders of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and Vice-Chancellor of one of Russia`s leading universities, Moscow State University.

Shakhrai then noted that there are a number of Russian and Indonesian cooperation, which have been pioneered and can be developed further, including in the field of law, history, and sports, especially badminton.

He also believed that Indonesia and Russia could develop Islamic cooperation, including in the sectors of education and halal tourism.

Marsudi was in Moscow for a bilateral visit and had organized a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on March 13.

Reported by Yuni Arisandy

Reporter: antara
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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