Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) held a bilateral meeting with Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Rick Houenipwela, at the Hilton Hotel, Port Moresby, on Saturday.

"I hope Indonesia will be given the opportunity to contribute to develop Solomon Islands` economy," Jokowi stated, as conveyed by the Deputy of Protocol, Press and Media of the Presidential Secretariat Bey Machmudin in a statement received in Jakarta, on Saturday.

Indonesia and the Solomon Islands are two countries that have some similarities. Both are Pacific nations, have Melanesian ethnicity, are archipelagic countries, and face the same challenges, including in the field of climate change.

During a bilateral meeting with Houenipwela, Jokowi called for closer relations between the two countries.

To improve cooperation between the two countries, the president conveyed several things, including increasing Indonesia`s investment in Solomon Islands.

In the economic field, the development of palm oil products is one of the focuses of the discussion. The Solomon Islands is interested in developing the product.

"Indonesia has a high added value in the palm oil industry. I want to encourage Indonesian companies to develop oil palm in Solomon Islands," the president noted.

Besides oil palm, Indonesia hopes to work together with the Solomon Islands in the fishing industry. The president hopes that this industry can become an important sector in the economic cooperation of Solomon Islands.

Meanwhile, in the field of tourism, Indonesia is ready to help the Solomon Islands to develop tourism, especially "eco-tourism." Several regions in Indonesia have developed environment-based tourism.

"Indonesia is also ready for cooperation in the field of maritime affairs, especially coastal development and disaster management," he continued.

At the meeting, the president also expressed his appreciation for the firm position of Solomon Islands to respect Indonesia`s sovereignty.

"I appreciate the position of Solomon Islands to support Indonesia`s territorial integrity. I appreciate Your Majesty`s view of developments in Papua," Jokowi remarked.

To the PM of Solomon Islands, Jokowi also explained the development that had been carried out in Papua and West Papua in the past four years.

"The evelopments include construction of 4,174 kilometers of roads, 7 airports, and 15 ports; improvement of public health and education services; community economic empowerment; and one-price BBM policy. With this development, I am sure that the welfare of the Papuan people will be better, "he asserted.

The president was accompanied by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, and Minister of State Secretary Pratikno.

In addition, the Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Thomas Lembong, Indonesian Ambassador to Papua New Guinea Ronald J.P. Manik, Director General of Asia Pacific and Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Desra Percaya, and Special Staff of President Adita Irawati were also present during the meeting.

Jokowi and First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo arrived at Jackson International Airport, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, at 10:35 local time (WS) or 7.35 WIB.

At the airport, the president and Ms. Iriana were welcomed by the Head of the Papua New Guinea State Protocol Morea Veratau, Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Charles Kauvu Abel, Minister of Land and Spatial Planning (APEC Minister) Justin Tkatchenko, Governor of the National Capital District Powes Parkop, and Indonesian Ambassador Papua New Guinea Ronald JP Manik along with Mrs. Ratna Dewi Manurung.

Meanwhile, Ms. Iriana received flowers handed over by the two sons and daughters of Head of Papua New Guinea. Before entering the prepared vehicle, the president and Mrs. Iriana were welcomed by a welcome dance.

From the airport, Jokowi and Mrs. Iriana and the group went straight to the hotel where they stayed in during the visit.

Arriving at the hotel, the president and Mrs. Iriana were welcomed by Indonesian people, waving flags in their hands.

Reporting by Agus Salim

Editing by Eliswan Azly

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Yosep Hariyadi
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