Jakarta (ANTARA) - Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi discussed various issues, ranging from economic cooperation to Palestine, during a bilateral meeting with Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Hanke Bruins Slot in The Hague on Wednesday (January 31).

"The Netherlands is one of Indonesia's important partners in Europe. The Netherlands is the biggest trade partner (of Indonesia) in Europe and is also the biggest investment partner in Europe. The same thing also applies to the tourism sector," Marsudi noted in a press statement.

At the meeting, she expressed hope that the Action Plan for 2024-2025, signed by the two ministers in Jakarta in October 2023, can be implemented well.

She also highlighted several bilateral cooperation priorities, such as energy transition, the digital industry, and returning Indonesia's historical objects.

"I also emphasized the importance of the two countries continuously cooperating in strengthening the sustainable production of palm oil. As is known, 14 percent of Indonesia's total exports to the Netherlands are oil palm," she remarked.

In the context of bilateral cooperation, Slot reiterated the commitment to cooperate in the development of Indonesia's new capital city, Nusantara, especially related to waters and sustainable city concept.

The Netherlands also conveyed full support for Indonesia's application to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Furthermore, the ministers discussed cooperation between ASEAN and the EU, especially ahead of a meeting of ASEAN-EU foreign ministers scheduled on February 1-2 in Brussels, Belgium.

Marsudi noted that with a population of more than 650 million, ASEAN has huge potential to develop cooperation with the EU.

"At the bilateral meeting with Minister Slot, I mentioned the negotiations that Indonesia is carrying out with the EU regarding the CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement)," she remarked.

She further stated that since 2016, some 16 negotiation rounds of the Indonesia-EU CEPA had been conducted, and the negotiations are expected to conclude in the near future.

Ahead of the 17th round of negotiations, which will take place in Indonesia, she emphasized the importance of applying the principle of mutual benefit as a guideline during negotiations.

Marsudi also drew attention to several EU policies that are considered to disadvantage Indonesia, including regarding palm oil and the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR).

"I also emphasized that Indonesia will always have the commitment to carry out industrial downstreaming. I hope the Netherlands will continue to support the Indonesia-EU CEPA negotiations," she remarked.

The last issue discussed at the meeting was that of Palestine during which Marsudi conveyed concerns regarding the worsening humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

"Amid this deteriorating humanitarian situation, it is very unfortunate that several donor countries, including the Netherlands, have suspended their financial support to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees)," she stated.

To this end, she emphasized the importance of carrying out comprehensive, credible, and transparent investigation as soon as possible to investigate Israel's accusations regarding the involvement of UNRWA staff in the October 7 attack.

"Suspending financial support to UNRWA will greatly worsen the humanitarian situation that is already very bad," Marsudi opined.

Marsudi stated that at the meeting, the importance of investigation was also highlighted by Minister Slot, and the Netherlands also emphasized its support for a two-state solution.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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