Athens, Greece (ANTARA) - Indonesian Vice President Ma'ruf Amin and the Archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, Ieronymos II, on Thursday exchanged their views regarding efforts to maintain tolerance and diversity in the two countries.

"I want to learn the situation of religious harmony maintained in Greece. What form of inter-religious dialogue is carried out in this country?" he asked the archbishop at the Holy Metropolitan Church of Athens, Greece, on Thursday.

He then said that Indonesia is home to more than 270 million people residing on 17 thousand islands.

It has 718 local languages and 6 official religions, namely Islam, Protestant Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, he added.

Given this diversity, Indonesia adheres to the philosophy of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, which means unity in diversity, he said.

"This philosophy is also a compass for our country to maintain tolerance and peace between multicultural communities with various ethnicities, races, and religions," Amin added.

The Vice President expressed the hope that the meeting with Archbishop Ieronymos II would strengthen mutual commitment to promote understanding and encourage mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.

"I am very happy because my first working trip to Europe is visiting Greece, which is rich with history and culture," he remarked.

He further said that Greece was one of the first European countries to acknowledge Indonesia's sovereignty in December 1949.

"Indonesian and Greek society have the same characteristics where (people from) various religions live together and have become the glue of the nation," he noted.

The Vice President then conveyed his views regarding the current Israeli aggression in Palestine.

He also expressed his condolences for the Israeli air attack on the Greek Orthodox Church, Saint Porfirius, in the Gaza Strip on October 19, 2023.

He said that Indonesia firmly condemns the attacks on civilians and public facilities in Gaza.

"If the violence in Gaza continues, Indonesia is worried that this will lead to regional and global instability," he added.

Next, Amin is scheduled to make a courtesy visit to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday (November 24).

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Translator: Indra Arief P, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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