Indonesia, Palestine Agree to Intensify Economic Cooperation, People-to-People Contact

Indonesia, Palestine Agree to Intensify Economic Cooperation, People-to-People Contact

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono held a tete-a-tete at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, Friday (Feb. 28). (ANTARA FOTO/Prasetyo Utomo)

   Jakarta (Antara News) - Indonesia, a staunch supporter of Palestine in its struggle for independence, has viewed the first visit of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to Jakarta as a momentum to reaffirm its commitment to assisting Palestine.     
      Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who is on an official visit to Indonesia until March 2, held a tete-a-tete with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Friday afternoon (Feb. 28).
        "I believe that our friendship, cooperation and partnership will be improved in the future,"  Yudhoyono told his guest.
        This is Hamdallah's first visit to Indonesia since he became the prime minister in June 2013. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Jakarta twice, in October 2007 and May 2010, respectively.
         Following the tete-a-tete, Yudhoyono and Hamdallah held a bilateral meeting, which was attended by the delegates of the two countries.  
     The Palestinian delegation comprised Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad Malki, National Economic Minister Jawad N.A. Hirzallah, Planning and Administrative Development Minister Mohammad Abu Ramadan, and Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Fariz N. Mehdawi.
        Yudhoyono was accompanied, among others, by Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto,  and Chief Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa.
         In the meeting, the two leaders agreed to boost bilateral cooperation in the fields of politics, economy, and people-to-people contact, such as in the education and tourism fields. 
    President Yudhoyono remarked that Indonesia will increase economic cooperation with Palestine, in addition to boosting cooperation in two other sectors.
         "In the economic field, Indonesia and Palestine have agreed to increase cooperation in the future. We hope to explore new opportunities.  We also discussed future cooperation in the oil and gas as well as other sectors," the Indonesian head of state claimed.
         Yudhoyono hoped that a Joint Business Council between Indonesia and Palestine, which will be launched on March 1, 2014, will be able to explore new business opportunities.
         "Our bilateral ties are sound and we have made a lot of progress. It is our responsibility to maintain and explore new cooperation opportunities," President Yudhoyono stated at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Hamdallah at the Merdeka Palace following the meeting.
          "In the political field, Indonesia has emphasized its commitment as well as proactive and active support to help realize an independent and sovereign state of Palestine under a two-state solution concept. That's Indonesia's position, and Indonesia will contribute to that effort," Yudhoyono noted.
         Indonesia was pleased that Palestine has gained an observer state status in the United States and full membership of the UNESCO, he remarked. "And we hope that Palestine will soon become a member of other international organizations too," the Indonesian head of state added.
         "Indonesia believes that Palestine will develop into an advanced country. We also hope that an independent Palestinian state will be soon realized," he asserted.
         Prime Minister Hamdallah lauded the Indonesian government and people for their endless support to Palestine.  He particularly expressed his gratitude to Indonesia for providing capacity building programs for a number of Palestinian civil servants.
          Over the past five years, the Indonesian government has trained at least 1,257 Palestinians within the framework of the New Asian African Strategic Partnership (NAASP).    
    Hamdallah also noted that the bilateral meeting just held between him and President Yudhoyono was important.  "This is an important meeting, and we hope that the bilateral cooperation between Palestine and Indonesia can become an example of cooperation between Palestine and other countries," he emphasized. 
   After holding a bilateral meeting, the two leaders witnessed the signing of several Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) on the economic, education, and tourism cooperation.
         Hamdallah invited more Indonesian tourists to visit his country in a bid to boost the Palestinian economy.
         "It is important for us. This is moral and material support for us. Last year, 48 thousand Indonesian tourists visited Palestine. We hope that there will be more Indonesian tourists visiting Palestine," Hamdallah stated.   
   Yudhoyono shared the view of Hamdallah regarding the need to increase the number of Indonesian tourists to visit Palestine. "This is good and must be boosted in the future," the President said.         
     The Palestinian prime minister will be participating in the Second Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD II) hosted by Indonesia on Saturday (March 1).
         Yudhoyono and Hamdallah are scheduled to deliver keynote speeches during the opening ceremony of the CEAPAD II, which will highlight the expectations of Palestine and in what capacity can the CEAPAD member countries offer assistance to Palestine in building a viable state with solid institutions and an active economy.  The first CEAPAD was organized in Japan, on February 2013.
         "Palestine could learn the experiences of  member states in East Asia in various economic and development fields,  and starts to establish a meaningful partnership with these friendly and fast growing countries," Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Fariz Mehdawi told Antara recently.
          Coinciding with the conference is a two-day CEAPAD Business Meeting and Trade Expo scheduled to be organized at the Hotel Borobudur in Jakarta on March 1 and 2, 2014, by the Indonesian foreign ministry in cooperation with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
        The Trade Expo will be participated in by 29 Palestinian companies which will display their products such as food products,  pharmaceuticals products (medicines), glass wear, stone marbles, handicraft, dates, and olive oil, which is classified as one of the best in quality in the world.  Palestinian tourism will also be promoted during the expo.
        During the Business Forum, Indonesian and Palestinian businessmen are expected to discuss trade and investment opportunities, and on the occasion, an Indonesian-Palestinian Business Council will be launched. (*)
(T.F001/A/F. Assegaf/Suharto) 28-02-2014 23:41:
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