The European Union (EU) has sought to expand security cooperation with Indonesia under the recently reactivated EU-Indonesian parliamentarian friendship group, which aims to bridge understanding between the two partners.
During a meeting on Wednesday, Abdul Kharis Almasyhari, the chairman of the House of Representatives Commission I overseeing foreign affairs and EU Ambassador to Indonesia Vincent Guérend discussed the possibility of cooperation on maritime security.
Kharis said the EU delegation particularly singled out cooperation to address the frequent kidnappings near the maritime borders between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
“An interesting aspect of defense and security that we touched upon [in the meeting] was on the purpose to safeguard Indonesia from hijackings and kidnappings," Kharis told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
“[Guérend] said the EU can draw from its experience of cooperating with the Philippines in southern Mindanao,” he added, referring to an area known as a regional hotbed for terrorist activity.
The meeting between House lawmakers and EU delegates on Wednesday was partly to follow up last month’s agreement in Brussels to revive their stagnant parliamentary cooperation mechanism. The agreement was achieved during a working visit by Indonesian delegates led by Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi.
Kharis indicated that the Euro bloc might be able to help prevent further kidnappings that affected Indonesian nationals.
“I told him that terrorism is a global threat and that we have to team up against it by sharing input and experiences,” said the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician.
In the past year, over a dozen Indonesian nationals have been kidnapped by Filipino militant group Abu Sayyaf, with four fishermen still being held hostage. (ebf)