The Jakarta Post
A bilateral meeting between Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and his Philippine counterpart Albert F. del Rosario in Jakarta on Monday reached a historical agreement on a provisional maritime boundary line, among commitments to enhance cooperations in the areas of economy, defense, politics and sociocultural and consular affairs.
The two countries, which have so far agreed to delimit each other's Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ), had 'finally determined the boundaries that are acceptable for both nations', Marty said after the meeting.
'Hopefully, the treaty will be signed by both countries' leaders during President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's visit to Manila in May,' Marty said after the meeting.
The two ministers also led their respective delegations during the 6th meeting of the Indonesia-Philippines Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), which was held shortly after the two ministers' bilateral talks.
The meeting, besides to review progress made following the 5th JCBC in Manila in 2011, also explored opportunities in new areas of cooperation, such as trade, investment, sociocultural affairs and politics. 'We are supplementing the JCBC with an action plan that provides mechanisms and a timeline so we can accomplish objectives we set for ourselves,' Del Rosario said.
Marty said that the 2014-2016 action plan was an important achievement since the Indonesia-Philippine JCBC was first held in Manila in 1995.
The two ministers also signed an agreement on mandatory consular notification and assistance, which obligates both governments to immediately inform their partnering government whenever a citizen of one country is undergoing judicial process in the other country.
The Philippine minister also conveyed gratitude over Indonesia's efforts to help the people affected by Typhoon Haiyan late last year.
'We are continually receiving aid from the Indonesian Red Cross and contributions from Indonesian citizens. We are deeply moved by your overwhelming generosity'
Del Rosario said.
He also thanked Indonesia's participation in the crafting of a peace agreement related to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the southern Philippines.
Marty recently said the Indonesian government was ready to facilitate another round of peace talks following renewed fighting between the military and armed rebels in the southern Philippines last year, which saw dozens killed and thousands of others displaced.
'Indonesia, as part of the peace committee of the OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation], is always ready to facilitate such peace talks,' Marty said. The OIC has given a mandate to Indonesia to chair its Peace Committee for the Southern Philippines (PCSP).
Indonesia, according to a Foreign Ministry statement, is expecting more investment from the Philippines, particularly related to transportation, connectivity, infrastructure and fishery projects under the 2011-2025 Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development (MP3EI).
The government is also hoping for a bigger flow of tourists from the Philippines. In the January-November 2013 period, about 117,000 tourists from the country visited Indonesia, more than 111,000 people in the same period in 2012.
Two-way trade volume from January to November 2013 reached US$4.25 billion with a surplus of $2.8 billion on the Indonesian side. It was higher than the $4.16 billion recorded during the same period in 2012.
' JP/Bagus BT Saragih
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