Jakarta. Indonesia and East Timor agreed to step up bilateral cooperation in trade and capacity building and to intensify negotiations on unresolved border issues during a meeting on Wednesday (31/01) between the two countries’ foreign ministers.
"We agreed to continue strengthening our bilateral relations, as two close neighbors we have no other choice but to pave our way forward and weave good relations [with each other]," Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said during a joint press statement in Jakarta.
Indonesia and East Timor will focus their cooperation in infrastructure development, including plans to build the Motaain Bridge at the border between both countries early this year.
"This bridge is very important because it will be a bridge for people-to-people contact, and will also connect economic activities of both our countries," Retno said.
She added that Indonesia is committed to continue supporting infrastructure development in East Timor.
Retno said further that state-run bus company Damri plans to open a route between Kupang in East Nusa Tenggara, and Dili, East Timor's capital, as part of an effort to improve connectivity between the neighboring states.
Furthermore, both ministers discussed plans for Indonesia’s TransNusa and East Timor’s Air Timor to serve charter flights between Dili and Kupang.
Retno and East Timor’s Foreign Minister Aurelio Sergio Guterres also agreed to intensify communication to address two unresolved segments on shared land borders and to kick-start maritime negotiations.
East Timor became an independent country in 2002 after a decades-long struggle to secede from Indonesia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the reconciliation process between Indonesia and East Timor is a positive example for the international community.