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Fifty years of distinguished and developed friendship
December 16, 2017, 3:14 pm

Kuwait and Indonesia will celebrate their golden jubilee of bilateral diplomatic relations next year marking 50 years of distinguished and developed friendship between the two countries, disclosed Kuwait Ambassador to Indonesia H.E. Abdulwahab Al-Sager during an interview with The Times Kuwait in Jakarta recently.

“Relations between the two countries are strong and good, and can be seen through the mutual support and agreements reached in international organizations and in the exchange of high-level visits between both countries,” Ambassador Al-Sager pointed out.

“I look forward to the convening of the Higher Joint Committee of Kuwait and Indonesia slated for next year. The first session is to be held in Kuwait under the chairmanship of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al Sabah,” Ambassador Al-Sager noted. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries, a new chapter is expected to open with renewed cooperation in several fields, including in trade and investment, tourism, education and cultural exchanges.

Elaborating on this, Ambassador Al-Sager stated that although Indonesia had the largest Islamic population in the world and was blessed with an amazing natural beauty, he regretted that Kuwaitis did not take full advantage of the tourism potential of Indonesia, even though the country had all the right ingredients to be a preferred destination for Kuwaiti citizens and residents because of the excellent and high-quality tourism infrastructure in place, including family shopping and abundant entertainment venues. The discontinuation of the direct flight by Kuwait Airways last year may have also had an impact on tourists from Kuwait, added the envoy.

On the economic front, trade between the two countries is worth around a billion dollars, with Kuwait exporting petroleum products and derivatives while Indonesia exports included palm oil, furniture, household appliances, car spare parts, tires, office equipment and electronic devices.

There are also Kuwaiti companies operating in Indonesia such as Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) and the Bank Muamalat, an Indonesian Bank, has a share in Boubyan Bank; also, Indonesia Finance Ijarah is a Kuwait-Indonesia company owned by Kuwait International Investment and Finance Company.

Ambassador Al-Sager pointed at the huge scope of boosting trade and investment between the two countries, and said he was hopeful that the signing of MoU’s to protect investors and capital would further encourage investments, from the present estimate of direct and indirect investments to the tune of $2.5 billion.

He said Indonesia had a huge development plan that included six major oil refineries and Gulf countries were eager to support with finance provided the right investment atmosphere was created. “It is also in the interest of Gulf oil-producing countries to work closely with their Indonesian counterparts owing to the excellent relations and common cultural and religious affiliations,” he added.

Kuwait has also provided nine soft loans to Indonesia totaling around $200 million since 1977 to 2006, through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. While in the humanitarian and charitable field, several Kuwaiti charities such as International Islamic Charitable Organisation, the Islamic Heritage Society, the Rahma Society of Indonesia, the Kuwait Indonesian Charity Society and the Social Reform Association, were doing commendable service in the rebuilding of entire villages destroyed by Tsunami in 2004 and have provided aid to over 50,000 people. One village in Garut, in West Java, is being funded by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al Sabah, and another village in Aceh Besar is being built through funds provided by the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah. Kuwait’s humanitarian aid and assistance during the past 13 years has totaled around $175 million, said the ambassador.

Kuwait also provides a number of scholarships at the Kuwait University and Public Authority for Applied Education to Indonesian students who seek education in Kuwait, he added.





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