The Jakarta Post
President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai reaffirmed the long-standing bonds of friendship between the two nations and expressed their commitment to promote bilateral cooperation in all areas of mutual benefit.
During bilateral talks on the sidelines of the fifth Bali Democracy Forum ( BDF ) in Nusa Dua, Bali, Yudhoyono expressed Indonesia’s commitment to support Afghanistan in various fields, including technical vocational training, infrastructure, as well as in women’s empowerment, higher education and mid-career diplomat training.
“We have asked relevant ministries to identify and work on concrete programs” Yudhoyono told the press after the meeting.
The two countries welcomed the new treaty of friendship and cooperation to replace the previous friendship treaty, which concluded on April 24, 1955. The new treaty promotes political cooperation, economic and trade cooperation, in addition to academic and cultural cooperation.
Karzai underlined the positive economic prospects of his country and invited Indonesia to explore the possibility of direct trade and investment in Afghanistan.
“Indonesian businesses are welcomed to Afghanistan to participate in the development of Afghanistan and in the expansion of business between two countries,” Karzai said.
The value of trade between the two countries was at US$37.78 million as of August this year.
Both leaders welcomed the memorandum of understanding ( MoU ) on Capacity Building for Law Enforcement Personnel, signed last September in Jakarta. The MoU stipulates that Indonesian National Police will train 50 Afghanistan National Police officers on traffic management, police community services and crime investigation. Both leaders instructed the training to commence as soon as possible.
To promote good governance, the meeting encouraged closer cooperations between the corruption eradication agencies of the two countries. Both leaders also underlined the importance of promoting bilateral cooperation on counterterrorism and transnational organized crimes as well as a commitment to combating people smuggling and trafficking.
“We will also explore cooperation in the fields of culture through a cultural exchange programs and cultural mission,” Yudhoyono said.
Following the talks, both leaders witnessed the signing of four agreements, respectively on friendship and cooperation, on visa exemption for holders of diplomatic and service passports, on bilateral consultations and on cultural exchange programs.
Previously, Yudhoyono also held bilateral talks with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
With Ahmadinejad, Yudhoyono discussed problems in the Middle East area, especially in about conflict in Syria. Both leaders shared similar views that the international community should step in to prevent further humanitarian tragedies and let political process take place in the country.
Yudhoyono also discussed the same issue with Erdogan, as Turkey is also affected by the conflict, the two leaders also talked about how to promote economic and defense cooperation.
With Papua New Guinea, Indonesia is looking forward to building cooperation for the exploration and production of natural gas in the border area between the two country. Indonesia will also support the opening of direct flight route from Port Moresby to Bali and to Jakarta.