Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin pushed for the establishment of a branch office of the state-owned Bank Syariah Indonesia (BSI) in Saudi Arabia to further intensify economic ties between Indonesia and the gulf state.

The vice president voiced his intent during a meeting with Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Indonesia Faisal ibn Abdullah Al-Amudi at the Vice Presidential Palace, Central Jakarta, on Monday, according to the VP's spokesperson, Masduki Baidlowi.

"Mr Vice President hoped that the recent visit of BSI directors to the Saudi Arabian Embassy will be followed up by the establishment of a branch office of the Islamic bank in Saudi Arabia," Baidlowi said here on Monday.

The spokesperson noted that VP Amin would leave it to the Saudi Arabian government to decide on where the branch office of BSI will be developed, adding that the vice president also looked forward to witnessing other schemes of cooperation established between the two countries.

The VP expressed belief that the establishment of a branch office of BSI in the oil giant country brings huge benefits, both for Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, he noted.

"We, and our partners in Saudi Arabia, will mutually benefit from it (the branch office establishment)," he pointed out.

Furthermore, Baidlowi stated that during the meeting, Ambassador Al-Amudi personally invited VP Amin to attend the commemorative event of the National Day of Saudi Arabia in Jakarta in September this year.

"God willing, Mr Vice President, along with several officials from the Vice Presidential Secretariat, will endeavor to participate (in the event)," he remarked.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Al-Amudi, for his part, warmly welcomed the vice president's initiative and stated that his side is willing to translate the initiative into reality.

"We are also ready to take necessary measures to execute the intention of establishing a branch office of BSI in Saudi Arabia," the ambassador remarked.

Al-Amudi affirmed that he made the most of the meeting to brief the vice president on the development of the Saudi government's preparatory measures to welcome President Joko Widodo during the head of state's scheduled visit to Saudi Arabia in October.

The ambassador expressed hope that President Widodo's visit to the gulf state will result in the signing of various crucial memoranda of understanding that would lead the two countries to a higher level in their relations.

"Both countries are expected to sign cooperation agreements in numerous sectors, including economy, education, religion, and investment. We also plan to hold a meeting that brings together ASEAN countries and gulf countries, which will be participated by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia," he elaborated.

Currently, Indonesia holds the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

He then described his meeting with Vice President Amin as being very productive, as both figures discussed several issues that can further bolster ties between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, the ambassador also told the vice president about his keenness to visit and forge cooperation with the An-Nawawi Islamic Boarding School located in Serang District, Banten Province.

"We would like to express gratitude to Mr Vice President for his warm welcome. We had the opportunity to talk about numerous matters related to the efforts in further bolstering the relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Indonesia," he noted.

Saudi Arabia still stands among the most important strategic partners of Indonesia in terms of investment and trade activities.

On the other hand, Indonesia has been investing significant efforts to diversify its economy and develop tourist destinations. The success in these efforts is expected to drive Saudi Arabia to consider Indonesia as one of its most important partners as well.

During the 2017-2021 period, Indonesia managed to record an increase of 3.76 percent in its exports to Saudi Arabia amid emerging tariff obstacles.

Indonesia has enormous potential in exporting its food ingredients, food products, as well as processed agricultural and fishery products to Saudi Arabia.

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Translator: Rangga Pandu, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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