RI, S`pore sign education, bureaucratic reform coop agreement

Bogor, West Java (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Singapore have signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the fields of education and bureaucratic reform.

The MOU was signed following a meeting between the two countries` governments at the presidential place here on Tuesday.

The MOU for education cooperation was signed by Indonesia`s Minister of Education Muhammad Nuh and Singapore`s Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam.

Indonesia`s Minister of Administrative Reform Azwar Abubakar, meanwhile, signed the MOU for bureaucratic reform cooperation with Singapore`s Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam.

The signing of the agreement was witnessed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Singapore`s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met with President Yudhoyono for a meeting to review the two countries` cooperation. The first such meeting had earlier been held in Singapore.

The meetings began with a private meeting between the two leaders and was followed by a bilateral meeting of the two countries` delegations, which concluded with the signing of the MOUs followed by lunch.

In his introductory speech, President Yudhoyono said the current level of economic cooperation between the two countries could be increased.

"I hope this will be the bridge for increasing cooperation between the two countries in the future," he said.

He added "we have discussed various issues and, in principle, progress has been made to assure more success in the future. Economic cooperation has been stronger in the fields of trade and investment. Indonesia hopes progress in the two countries could be used for improved cooperation."

President Yudhoyono noted how Bogor Palace has witnessed a number of important events in the past, including the development of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) and, in view of that, he hoped the consultation meeting could promote cooperation between the two countries and carry the same spirit as previous important meetings held at the palace.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressed appreciation for the Indonesian government`s efforts and shared the view that the two countries` economic cooperation was very important.

Before the bilateral meeting between the two countries` delegations, President Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met in private to discuss bilateral cooperative development, as well as regional and global conditions.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was accompanied by several ministers and high ranking officials, including trade minister Lim Hng Kiang, defense minister Ng Eng hen, foreign minister K. Shanmugam, health minister Gan Kim Yong, development minister Chan Chung Sing and state minister for information, communication and arts cum environment and water resource Grace Fu.

Additionally, President Yudhoyono was flanked by coordinating minister for political, security and legal affairs Djoko Suyanto, coordinating minister for economic affairs Hatta Rajasa, foreign minister Marty Natalegawa, industry minister MS Hidayat, defense forces commander Agus Suhartono, national police chief General Timur Pradopo, and other high ranking officials.(*)