The Jakarta Post
Indonesia and the Netherlands on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on diplomatic training, which is set to last until 2016, a top envoy said.
Dutch Ambassador to Indonesia Tjeerd F. de Zwaan said the agreement was an extension of a prior diplomatic training program, jointly delivered by the Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael) and the Foreign Ministry, which was signed in 2010 and expired in 2014.
'The diplomatic training program was initially suggested in 2003 but officially began in 2004. Up to 550 diplomats from the two countries have so far participated in the program,' said De Zwaan during the agreement signing ceremony in Jakarta on Thursday.
Newly appointed Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi, an alumnus of the Clingendael-Foreign Ministry training program and also former Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands, was present at the signing ceremony. She delivered her remarks, highlighting the importance of Dutch-RI relations in terms of educational cooperation.
'Education is a center point in strengthening people-to-people relations between the Netherlands and Indonesia. It also remains an important aspect to strengthening investment, trade, food security and infrastructure cooperation,' said Retno during the event.
It was the first time Retno oversaw a bilateral agreement between Indonesia and a partner country after she was appointed foreign minister on Oct. 26.
The ministry's director general of American and European Affairs, Dian Triansyah Djani, said Indonesia and the Netherlands had signed over 80 bilateral agreements since both countries rebooted their relations in 1968 following a severance of relations in 1956.
Dian further said that several Dutch ministers had visited In-donesia in 2014, including Infrastructure and Environment Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen and Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, highlighting improved relations between the two countries.
'The ministerial visits and the significant amount of Dutch investment in our economic development projects show the depth of our relations and how Indonesia views relations with its Dutch counterparts. The Netherlands is Indonesia's second largest European trade partner after Germany,' Dian told The Jakarta Post.
Bilateral agreements between the two countries in 2014 also include a defense cooperation agreement that covered strategic dialogues, technical training, technology and information exchange, as well as cooperation in the defense industry.
A joint declaration on a comprehensive partnership was signed in 2013, which aims to strengthen both countries' efforts in assisting in economic cooperation, foreign policy and human rights. Retno elaborated that the comprehensive partnership with the Netherlands is one of 18 that Indonesia has with other countries in the world. (dyl)
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