The Italian government has expressed a strong desire to boost its relations with Indonesia to the “next level, particularly in terms of intercultural understanding and trade, according to an Italian Embassy official.
The Italian Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission in Jakarta, Mario Alberto Bartoli said one of the highest points of interest, in terms of cooperation between the two countries in recent years, has been the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi’s recent visit to Indonesia from April 23-24, where the two nations greatly expanded their ties through a “comprehensive partnership”.
“Within the framework of the comprehensive partnership, we aim to promote regular high-level visits to increase [things like] bilateral trade, investment and ties between the business communities. We also want to increase the people-to-people links and we want to work to build a bridge between both countries in order to improve relations between [the] European Union and ASEAN,” Bartoli told The Jakarta Post.
“Asia is, of course, a target [of Italian trade] but within Asia, Indonesia is the market that Italian companies are looking at,” Bartoli said.
In addition to increasing the two countries’ partnership, Bartoli said that both Italy and Indonesia shared a “cultural commonality”, and as such, should use this common ground to bring countries together.
One form of this “cultural commonality” is faith. “Italy is position in the middle of the Mediterranean, so surrounded by creeds and faiths, so we think that Italy and Indonesia can really provide an added value in bringing religions together and pushing forward the willingness of religions to hold dialogues,” Bartoli said.
The way the Italian government is pushing for better religious dialogue is through its interfaith dialogue initiative with Indonesia, which began in 2009. “The aim of this initiative that started in 2009 in Italy is really to contribute to the dialogue between faiths and creeds at the world level, taking into account that Indonesia is a success story in terms of the coexistence of religions,” Bartoli said.
On Thursday, Italian Ambassador to Indonesia Federico Failla gave three Indonesians awards from the Italian government, for their work in increasing ties between Indonesia and Italy, during a celebration of Italy’s National Day in South Jakarta.
The first recipient was Adisatrya Suryo Sulisto, a House of Representatives’ Commission VI lawmaker. He was awarded the Ordine della Stella d’Italia classe Ufficiale for his “commitment to contributing to the enhancement of the relations between Italy and Indonesia”.
Next in line was Rina Ciputra Sastrawinata, an artist who often collaborates with the Italian Embassy in increasing cultural cooperation between Indonesia and Italy. She was honored with the Ordine della Stella d’Italia classe Cavaliere.
The third was Arwin Rasyid, president director of the CIMB Niaga Bank and one of the country’s most prominent bankers. Rasyid, who was born in Rome, was given the same award as Rina. (png/dic)