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Indonesia, Netherlands pledge to further ties


18:41, February 21, 2013

JAKARTA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa met here with visiting Netherlands Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, pledging to further promote bilateral relations between the two countries.

Speaking at a news conference with his counterpart Marty, Timmermans said both sides agreed to bring the bilateral relations to a higher level, as it deserves to be.

"Indonesia is increasingly a global player with global responsibilities, my ambition is for the Netherlands to be Indonesia's gateway to Europe," Timmermans said, adding that his country sees Indonesia as the country's prime partner in Asia.

Marty said the two ministers had a fruitful and productive discussion on cooperation ranging from trade, investment, infrastructure development, water management, to agriculture and city planning.

However, bilateral ties between the two countries were believed to have been turned downward in recent years triggered by the abrupt postponement of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's state visit to the Netherlands in 2010 over a human rights trial in the host country which would lead to his arrest.

Last year, Dutch Media reported the majority of parties in the Netherlands parliament opposed the deal of selling 100 Leopard battle tanks to Indonesia because of Jakarta's poor human rights record.

When asked about these issues' repercussion in the development of bilateral relations, Marty said the tasks for the two ministers are to be able to observe, acknowledge and to be aware of these different dynamics within the two countries, yet at the same time able to see the broad picture.

"We recognize that our two countries have special ties in the past, we must move forward and make our relationship more contemporary," Marty said, adding that the two countries should not be taken hostage by the past development.

The Netherlands, Indonesia's colonial master for centuries until 1945, is Indonesia's largest foreign direct investment source and one of the most important trade partners in Europe.

The Netherlands' direct foreign investment in Indonesia totaled 966.5 million U.S. dollars last year, accounting for 38 percent of the total investment from Europe. The trade between the two countries reached 3.3 billion U.S. dollars in the first three quarters of 2012 amid weakening European economy.

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