Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Retno discusses bilateral, global issues during Finland visit

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Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi addressed five key issues in her meetings with Finnish President Alexander Stubb and Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen, during her recent visit to Finland.

She discussed measures to enhance trade and investment, foster educational cooperation, explore energy sector collaboration, advanced smart cities initiatives, and address humanitarian issues related to the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine.

“Indonesia and Finland have agreed to continue exploring potential opportunities to boost trade,” Retno Marsudi said in a statement released on Sunday, June 16, 2024.

This engagement highlights Finland as a key trading partner in the Nordic region. Retno noted that the bilateral trade volume has consistently increased, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

Last year, the trade value between Indonesia and Finland reached US$713 million (Rp11.7 billion), marking a 22 percent increase from 2019. The first quarter of this year saw a further 40 percent rise compared to the same period last year.

Both nations have also agreed to encourage greater Finnish investment in Indonesia, particularly in the green energy and smart cities sectors.

In the realm of education cooperation, Retno praised the successful convening of the 1st Indonesia-Finland Joint Working Group on Higher Education and Teacher Capacity Development in September 2023.

Both countries are committed to enhancing educational collaboration through the exchange of teachers and students, joint research initiatives, and scholarship programs.

On energy cooperation, Retno highlighted Finland’s strong capabilities in renewable energy. She mentioned the agreement between Indonesia’s Medco Group and Finland’s Valmet Technologies to construct a biomass processing plant in Merauke, Papua, with an estimated capacity of 3.5 Mega Watts (MW). This project is expected to reduce diesel fuel usage by 27.5 million liters over five years. Both countries will continue to explore other green energy collaborations.

Regarding smart cities, Retno emphasized the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Nusantara Capital City (IKN) Authority and Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs. She expressed optimism that this MoU will pave the way for further cooperation in developing Indonesia’s new capital city, particularly attracting Finnish investment.

In her meeting with President Stubb, Retno expressed hope that Finland would soon recognize the State of Palestine, underscoring the significance of such recognition in supporting the two-state solution as a viable path to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Finland has consistently been committed to this solution, viewing it as a crucial step toward lasting peace. Both countries also pledged to push for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2735, which proposes a three-phase ceasefire.

Retno also acknowledged Finland’s support for humanitarian aid, including financial contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

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