The Jakarta Post
Indonesia should seize opportunities and enjoy the benefits of a peaceful Libya as the North African country's people are positive toward Indonesians and future development shows promise, an envoy has said.
Newly installed Libyan Ambassador to Indonesia Sadiq MO Ben Sadik said Libyans were becoming more interested in coming to Indonesia, young people in particular, to pursue studies at various universities here.
While admitting that security was still a big challenge post Qaddafi's 42-year rule, Bensadegh remained upbeat about the future of his country. 'Despite endless infighting, Libyans are longing for stability. [With the drafting of the constitution] We are now building [the nation] from scratch,' he said.
The new Libya, post constitution-drafting body vote on Feb. 20, was regarded as a promising point for the future of the nation, indicating a path toward creating political stability and security. 'It then would create bigger opportunity for business to come, including from Indonesia's construction sector,' the envoy said.
The ambassador told The Jakarta Post ahead of Libyan Independence Day and Revolution Day, celebrated here on Tuesday. Libya marks Feb. 17, the day when Moammar Qaddafi's autocratic regime ended in 2011, as its revolution day.
The oil-rich country, home to 6 million people, was under an interim government. On Feb. 20, Libya voted for the constitution body with low-turnout recorded ' about 498,000 people cast ballots out of 1 million registered.
Amid political turmoil at home, Libyan students have continued coming to Indonesia. There are now some 500 of them scattered across universities in cities such as Bandung, Semarang, Surakarta, Yogyakarta and Malang.
The wave of Libyan students to Indonesia started in 2009, when there were some 3,000 Libyans studying in Malaysia. Many of these students became interested in the various areas of study offered in Indonesia. 'The numbers have been increasing, especially after 2011,' said a counsellor at the Libyan Embassy, Masoud S. El Koshly. Ambassador Ben Sadik, who arrived in Indonesia five months ago, said he had promised the Libyan foreign minister to 'focus on strengthening economic cooperation with Indonesia'.
With more than US$120 billion foreign exchange reserves and 48 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, Libya offers many opportunities for Indonesian companies. The new Libya is planning to spend $500 billion in the next 25 years to rebuild the country.
In the first 11 months of 2013, Indonesia's trade with Libya reached $433 million. In 2012, bilateral trade stood at $576.50 million, a huge jump from $19 million in 2011.
'We welcome Indonesian companies to invest in Libya. Our doors are open to Indonesia. We will sign an agreement with Indonesia to recruit Indonesian workers to work in Libya,' Ben Sadik said.
Indonesia's private oil and gas company, Medco Energi Internasional, is already present in Libya. According to Medco's president director, Lukman Mahfoedz, Medco will start producing around 50,000 barrels per day from its Area-47 oil and gas block. State construction company Wika previously built some houses in Libya. After halting the purchase of oil from Libya, Indonesia resumed purchasing oil from the country in 2012. In the last two years, Indonesia has bought almost $1 billion worth of crude oil from the North African country.
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