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Jakarta Post

Indonesia, Hungary vow to strengthen people-to-people ties

  • Marchio Irfan Gorbiano

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, January 24, 2020   /   02:58 pm
Indonesia, Hungary vow to strengthen people-to-people ties Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Péter Szijjártó talks to the press on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, after a bilateral meeting with Indonesian ministers. (JP/Riza Roidila Mufti)

Indonesia and Hungary have vowed to strengthen bilateral relations, particularly at the people-to-people level, as well as the two countries’ economic ties following Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s meeting with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Thursday.  

Speaking after the meeting, which took place at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said improving people-to-people relationships was among the priorities identified by the leaders of both countries.  

“We are quite a [geographical] distance apart. Therefore, the first important thing to be done is building people-to-people contact,” Retno said in Jakarta on Thursday.

She went on to point out the strides that had been made by the two countries on the matter, such as the annual scholarship for 100 Indonesian students to study in Hungary. 

The Hungarian government will also take up to three Indonesian soccer players each year to train in one of their best football academies, while they also declared their intention to cooperate with the Indonesian government to build a military hospital and an oncology hospital, Retno said.  

Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Péter Szijjártó said Hungary was one of the European Union members that supported allowing Indonesians to travel visa-free to EU countries.

“Hungary is supporting the introduction of a visa-free regime for Ïndonesian citizens to be able to travel to the EU without a visa,” Szijjártó said.  

In terms of economic cooperation, Hungary had expressed its interest to set up a joint-investment fund with Indonesia, Retno said, although more details would still be further discussed in the future. 

The Indonesian government also appreciated the cooperation of the Hungarian government in completing the construction of 36 water-related projects across 12 provinces in Indonesia last year, Retno said, adding that she hoped the collaboration between the two countries on water management would continue to be strengthened going forward.