Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Ambassador to Cuba Nana Yuliana met Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parrilla at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Havana on Friday to discuss efforts to increase bilateral cooperation between both nations.

The relations between Indonesia and Cuba had been quite sound so far, the ambassador noted in a statement issued by the Indonesian Embassy in Havana on Saturday.

She highlighted four priorities during her tenure, specifically to increase political involvement of the two countries, promote economic diplomacy, strengthen connectivity between Cuban and Indonesian people, and protect Indonesian citizens.

Over the last two years, bilateral political ties have strengthened, as the two countries remain committed to supporting each other in several nominations in international organizations, among other things.

In the economic field, the trade volume between both nations showed a positive trend, she added.

"Cuba is one of Indonesia's important trading partners in the Caribbean region. Cuba also sent its representative, the Chairman of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Antonio Carricarte, to participate in the Indonesia–Latin America and Caribbean Business Forum 2021 as a resource person and also signed the Letter of Intent on the establishment of the INA- LAC Business Network," the ambassador remarked.

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In 2021, the total trade between Indonesia and Cuba surged to US$13.28 million, or 140.52 percent, as compared to 2020.

Regarding strengthening connectivity between the people of Cuba and Indonesia, the Indonesian Embassy in Havana has focused on cultural promotion activities, such as batik and weaving exhibitions, photo exhibitions to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, presenting donation to two Indonesian schools in the country, and establishing relations with the Muslim community in Cuba.

As for the protection of Indonesians in Cuba, she noted that most Indonesian citizens in Cuba are missionaries that provide services to the Cuban community and students that receive medical scholarships.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Parrilla expressed pride over the sound relations between Indonesia and Cuba owing to several similarities between the two countries, particularly regarding positions on international issues.

He noted that Cuba is also ready to assist and facilitate the Indonesian Embassy in Havana in an effort to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries.

He stated that cooperation between Indonesia and Cuba is also more intense during the COVID-19 pandemic by exploring vaccine cooperation, cooperation in providing capacity-building training, and offering scholarships.

Ambassador Nana Yuliana and Minister Parrilla also discussed several pending issues between Indonesia and Cuba, including on visa-free agreements for diplomatic and service passport holders and establishment of the ASEAN Committee in Cuba.

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Translator: Yuni A Sinaga, Fardah
Editor: Suharto
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