Koenders in Indonesia

Foreign minister Bert Koenders is in Indonesia this week for a four-day visit. ‘The Netherlands and Indonesia have long had close ties. At the same time, our relationship promises much for the future,’ said the minister before he left.

Mr Koenders will begin his visit in Bali. On Wednesday he will participate in a ministerial conference on migration, where he will speak with ministers from the region. Europe and Asia often face the same challenges, Mr Koenders said. ‘In Europe, we want to take the wind out of people smugglers’ sails. The authorities in Asia want the same. We should be making global agreements on these kinds of issues. This is why I accepted the Indonesian foreign minister’s invitation,’ he added.

Mr Koenders will also be meeting at the summit with the Australian foreign minister and Malaysian deputy foreign minister to discuss the current state of the investigation of the MH17 air disaster and the prosecution of those responsible. ‘The five countries that were worst affected are still working closely together and hold regular consultations,’ the minister said.

After his visit to Bali Mr Koenders will fly on to Jakarta, where he will meet with Indonesian foreign minister Retno Marsudi. They will discuss a variety of topics, including ways of stepping up bilateral and trade relations. They will also exchange views on geopolitical developments in countries like Syria, Iraq and Iran, and Indonesia’s position in Asia. The human rights situation in Indonesia will be another topic, including the death penalty, in conjunction with opportunities to cooperate on combating drug-related problems.

Mr Koenders will also speak with civil society organisations about human rights and the situation with the rule of law. Other meetings are planned with the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Luhut Panjaitan.

Mr Koenders will be visiting the Pluit district of North Jakarta together with the Governor of Jakarta. There he will be able to see for himself the importance of effective coastal defences and water management in fighting poverty and in urban and maritime development­­, and the role played in this by the Netherlands.

On Thursday he will be speaking at the Erasmus Huis Dutch cultural centre in Jakarta, looking to the future as well as back over the past. Mr Koenders believes it is important to express the hope that the broad and multifaceted partnership between Indonesia and the Netherlands will deepen even further, while reflecting in a frank and open-minded spirit on the past.