The Jakarta Post
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo received letters of credentials from four new foreign ambassadors in a ceremony at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Thursday.
The four envoys are Moazzam Malik of the UK, Rob Swartbol of the Netherlands, Branko Perovic of Montenegro and Germano Valle Barbero of San Marino. Among the four new envoys, only San Marino will not be based in Jakarta.
Jokowi and the four envoys took part in light conversation centering on economic issues after the ceremony.
Commenting on the discussion, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said, 'The President and the ambassadors simply exchanged ideas on issues related to current economic conditions. That is all.'
Malik, who has held a number of senior positions at the UK Department for International Development, replaced previous UK ambassador to Indonesia Mark Canning CMG.
Besides Indonesia, Malik will also cover the ASEAN region and will be non-resident ambassador to Timor Leste.
Malik, a Muslim of Pakistani descent, was previously the acting director general for humanitarian and conflict issues in Western Asia and the Middle East, at the Department for International Development between November 2013 and February 2014.
Prior to that, he was the department's director for Western Asia.
The department leads the UK's work to end extreme poverty globally and provide humanitarian emergency measures.
During his time in the department, Malik worked closely with colleagues across the UK government and international partners, including the UN, World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
He has been closely involved in the region, including responding to the 2004 tsunami and 2008 cyclone in Burma.
An economist by background, Malik has also worked in the academic, private and non-profit sectors.
Malik previously said, 'My family and I are very excited to be moving to Indonesia, a rapidly growing country at the heart of Asia's future.'
'Many commentators believe that the 21st century will be the 'Asian Century'. Indonesia and the Southeast Asia region are central to this vision. Building on the excellent relationships already in place, I look forward to working with Indonesia's new government and the ASEAN region to build prosperity, enhance political stability and tackle global challenges in the interests of the people of the region and the United Kingdom.'
Unlike Malik, Dutch Ambassador Swartbol is a senior diplomat. Prior to his post in Jakarta, he was the director general for international cooperation at the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry for almost three years.
Swartbol once served as the deputy director general for international cooperation and director
for the UN and international financial institutions department at the ministry.
Between 2006 and 2009, he was the Dutch ambassador to Slovakia.
Swartbol also served as foreign policy and defense advisor to the Prime Minister's Office between 2002 and 2006.