World

Algeria to strengthen relations
with Indonesia

Algeria plans to establish a Joint Commission aimed at boosting cooperation with Indonesia, using historical ties as leverage, an Algerian diplomat says.

Algerian Ambassador to Indonesia Abdelkrim Belarbi said on Tuesday that the commission, planned to be jointly led by the foreign ministers of the two countries, was expected to take bilateral cooperation to a higher level.

“There will be an added value to it since both countries share an important historic background,” Belarbi said.

Trade volume between Indonesia and Algeria increased from US$431 million in 2008 to $500 million in 2011. Indonesian exports to Algeria include palm oil, coffee, sugar, textile fiber, dried fish and wood.

Indonesia, Belarbi said, had always been a part of Algerian history because the former had played an important role in supporting his country gain independence from France in 1962.

He said he hoped that both countries’ common stories of struggle against colonial oppressors would lead to better partnerships.

Earlier this month, state oil and gas firm PT Pertamina signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Algerian national oil company Sonatrach for cooperation in its areas of operation in Algeria, Indonesia and other countries.

The cooperation includes the exchange of expertise and knowledge in various segments of the hydrocarbon chain, especially in the domain of research and development.

The Algerian government and private sector companies have also expressed interest in cooperating with the East Kalimantan administration in the agricultural sector, especially regarding oil palm and sugarcane.

Belarbi said Algeria also planned to include other sectors in future partnerships, such as tourism and education.

“We are finalizing the legal framework now. We will provide fellowships and grants for Indonesian students interested in studying Islamic science. However, the governments need to develop a thorough approach for the education field because both countries apply different teaching methods,” he said.

He also attributed the increasingly dynamic relations between the two countries to the rising number of Indonesians visiting Algeria. (tas)

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