The Netherlands and Indonesia to step up cooperation
The Netherlands and Indonesia are to step up cooperation on politics, economics and culture. Foreign minister Frans Timmermans made detailed agreements on this with his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa during his visit to Jakarta this week.
‘Indonesia and the Netherlands have 400 years of shared history’, Mr Timmermans said. ‘We also share DNA – quite literally. Indonesia is developing fast economically, and from a political point of view it is playing an important and constructive political role in the region. The country is a priority for us.’
The two countries will work together more on water management, infrastructure, urban planning and agriculture. This will include setting up exchange programmes for engineers. The Netherlands and Indonesia will also consider ways of helping students study in each other’s countries. Every year the two foreign ministers will meet for political consultations to discuss the progress made in these joint activities.
At Indonesia’s request, the Netherlands is starting up a project to improve the relationship between the police force and civilians in Papua and the Moluccas, with a special focus on human rights and cultural differences. Mr Timmermans and Mr Natalegawa discussed how greater transparency and openness in Papua can help attain the Indonesian government’s aim of improving the position of the local population. Next week, Mr Timmermans will receive the head of the task force for socio-economic development in Papua, Mr Bambang Darmono, in The Hague.
The two foreign ministers also discussed the importance of toleration of religious and other minorities in Indonesia and the Netherlands.
During his visit to Jakarta, Mr Timmermans laid a wreath at the Menteng Pulo Cemetery in memory of the Dutch victims of the Second World War in Asia.