Jakarta (ANTARA) - Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan visiting Indonesia on July 24, 2019, was historic and memorable, as he was enthusiastically welcomed and held long, friendly discussions with President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi described the two leaders as having established ties akin to best friends.

"They clicked. This is one of the longest meetings the president has had with a guest from another country," the minister remarked at the Bogor Presidential Palace following the bilateral meeting between the Crown Prince and the president that lasted over 2.5 hours.

Marsudi recalled Sheikh Mohamed's friendly welcome extended to President Jokowi when he had visited Abu Dhabi in 2015.

"When the president visited Abu Dhabi in 2015, Sheikh Mohamed welcomed him at the steps of his jet. They walked to the car together and Sheikh Mohamed himself drove the president to the restaurant. President Jokowi felt very respected," she remarked.

Sheikh Mohamed, who also serves as deputy commander-in-chief of the UAE Armed Forces, arrived in Jakarta with a large delegation comprising Lt General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Hamad bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Industry, Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, and Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, among others.

The two leaders affirmed their commitment to intensifying collaboration between Indonesia and the UAE, capitalizing on the enormous opportunities for economic and development cooperation, as well as fostering friendship and mutual understanding between the people of both nations.

The duo shared a common drive to collaborate in promoting and developing the halal (permissible) industry to garner full advantage of the potentials and opportunities presented by the increasingly growing global halal market. To this end, President Widodo invited the Crown Prince to attend the upcoming Halal Industry Summit to be held in Indonesia in October-November 2020.

As part of the Muslim ummah, Indonesia and the UAE remain committed to working closely in promoting Islamic moderation and spreading the message of peace, compassion, and tolerance to highlight the true meaning of Islam as rahmatan lil 'ālamīn (blessing for the whole universe).

The two leaders bore witness to their ministers inking nine memoranda of understanding (MoUs) for cooperation.

Foreign Minister Marsudi signed two MoUs on the protection of bilateral investment and the joint committee for consular affairs with UAE Home Affairs Minister Sultan bin Ahmed Aljaber.

In the defense sector, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Sultan bin Ahmed Aljaber.

In the maritime and fishery sector, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti signed an MoU with Sultan bin Ahmed Aljaber.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati signed an MoU on the avoidance of double taxation with Sultan bin Ahmed Aljaber, while an MoU on customs and excise duties was inked with Minister of Economic Affairs Sultan bin Saeed Almansoori.

In the tourism sector, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya inked an MoU with Sultan bin Saeed Almansoori.

Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy signed an MoU in the cultural sector with Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Noura binti Mohamed Alkabi, while Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto inked an MoU on industrial cooperation with Industry and Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohamed Almazrooi.

Both nations also signed three business-to-business MoUs, with one of them pertaining to the framework of comprehensive strategy between state oil and gas firm Pertamina and ADNOC.

The two other MoUs were signed by President Director of Chandra Asri Petrochemical Erwin Ciputra and CEO of petroleum and petrochemical investment company Mubadala Musabbeh Al Kaabi and between CEO of Maspion Alim Markus and CEO of DP World Sultan bin Sulayem in the presence of President Joko Widodo and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

"In total, the three business-to-business MoUs are valued at Rp136 trillion, or US$9.7 billion," Marsudi confirmed.

The total investment made by the UAE in Indonesia over the last three years reached US$172 million across 234 projects.

In 2018, the UAE's investment in Indonesia increased significantly, particularly in the manufacturing sector, including the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

In the industrial sector, the governments of Indonesia and the UAE have agreed to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in order to boost economic growth.

"The MOU will serve as an umbrella for cooperation in developing the potential of the industrial sector for the two countries," Hartarto remarked in a statement on the following day after the signing.

The two governments will develop the agro-based industry, metal and machinery industry, chemical industry, and the small- and medium-scale industry, among others.

Among Indonesia's 10 potential commodity exports to the UAE are crude palm oil, food and beverages, and pulp and paper.

Artificial intelligence, export financing for industry, halal product certification and standardization, vocational education and training programs are other areas for both nations to develop under the bilateral cooperation agreements.

Moreover, the UAE has planned to invest in a container port and industrial zone in Gresik, East Java Province.

"The preparations are ongoing. Hopefully, the construction would begin in 2021 at the latest. I will ask them to start earlier," Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi stated.

The UAE's investment in infrastructure projects in Indonesia will be worth US$1.2 billion.

The investment sharing pattern between Indonesia's private sector and the UAE will be 51:49.

In the tourism field, both nations reached a common consensus on cooperation to boost tourism development in Indonesia, specifically in marketing, development of destinations, human resources, research, and cooperation with the private sector.

Indonesia has invited investors to participate in the development of its 10 priority tourism destinations, termed the New Bali, with growth potential, specifically Lake Toba, Tanjung Kelayang, Tanjung Lesung, Seribu Island and the Old City, Borobudur, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru, Mandalika, Labuan Bajo, Wakatobi, and Morotai.

"In 2019, we have targeted to realize investment to the tune of Rp500 trillion. Thus, it will have a better impact on Indonesia's economy," the minister stated.

He is optimistic that Sheikh Mohammed's visit to Indonesia would also help boost the number of Middle-East tourists visiting Indonesia.

To follow up on the commitments, another UAE delegation will visit Indonesia next week, according to Indonesian Ambassador to the UAE Husin Bagis in Jakarta on July 26, 2019.

Indonesia and the UAE had established diplomatic relations since 1976, with the then President Suharto visiting the UAE in 1977, and the then UAE President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan first visiting Indonesia in 1990.

Editor: Bambang Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2019