Indonesia and Russia agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation through trade, exchange of information and counterterrorism efforts during a meeting in Jakarta. (JG Photo/Sheany)

Indonesia, Russia Step Up Security and Economic Cooperation


AUGUST 09, 2017

Jakarta. Indonesia and Russia agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation through trade, exchange of information and counterterrorism efforts, during a meeting in Jakarta.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday (09/08) signed a Plan of Consultation for 2017-2019, which aims to intensify bilateral dialogue between the two countries.

Lavrov said that the plan will include conducting expert meetings on a variety of relevant issues, such as conflict settlement in the Middle East and strengthening multilateral cooperation to address regional and global threats.

"We are planning to renew our comprehensive partnership from 2003 and upgrade it to a strategic partnership. We have assigned a team to begin drafting the document," Retno told reporters.

She said the new partnership will be launched before Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Indonesia, though the date for the visit has yet to be set.

Retno and Lavrov also discussed strategic issues during their meeting, including cybersecurity, counterterrorism, countering violent extremism and the strategic industry; with a particular focus on increasing cooperation on the first two issues.

According to Retno, Indonesia and Russia have had long standing cooperation on security issues, and both sides have held annual meetings since 2015.

Lavrov emphasized on the need to increase military and technical cooperation, and said that both countries have agreed to support Indonesia's capacity "to withstand any threats."

With regard to economic cooperation, Indonesia is currently working on a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, which consists of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

During his press statement, Lavrov said that Russia has provided favorable conditions for Indonesia to conduct trade, export and investment and will continue to do so.

Russia is an untapped market with a total population of over 144 million that has significant potential for Indonesia.

Indonesia and Russia recorded a 6.3 percent increase to $2.1 billion in bilateral trade last year, with $410 million in surplus for Indonesia.

As part of his first official visit to Indonesia, Lavrov will inaugurate Russia's permanent diplomatic mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Jakarta.

After previously attending the 50th Asean Ministerial Meetings in Manila prior to his trip to Jakarta, Lavrov will continue his trip to Bangkok.