Waldner: “Good prospects for our relations with Indonesia”
State Secretary opens Austria’s first “green” embassy building in Jakarta
Jakarta, 28 November 2011: Austria and Indonesia – with 240 million people the world’s populous Muslim country – have always enjoyed good bilateral relations as was last demonstrated during the state visit of Austrian President Heinz Fischer to Jakarta. The development of business relations between the two states is also highly successful. In 2010, the bilateral trade volume amounted to more than 320 million euros. From January to August 2011, Austrian exports to Indonesia increased by 46%. More than 30 Austrian companies maintain offices in Indonesia. The country’s economic growth is remarkable: In 2011, a growth rate of 6.5% will be achieved, and a study conducted by "Goldman Sachs" predicts that Indonesia will be one of the world’s seven economic super-powers by 2050, ahead even of Germany and France. “Indonesia is a country of incredible potential for Austrian business. I have expressed our great interest in concluding the proposed investment protection agreement soon to ensure our companies a higher degree of legal security and to boost their readiness to invest”, State Secretary Waldner said in Jakarta.
State Secretary Dr. Wolfgang Waldner met for political talks with Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and the Governor of Jakarta, Fauzi Bowo. He also had meetings with representatives from the religious communities, such as Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo and Muslim politician Yenny Zannuba Wahid, daughter of former Indonesian President Adurrahman Wahid, who advocates religious tolerance.
“Austria and Indonesia have been successfully cooperating in various initiatives promoting dialogue of cultures and religions for several years. We would be very pleased if Indonesia joined us as a strong partner in the development of the King Abdullah Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna. Indonesia could play a valuable role, being the country with the largest Muslim population in the world and with a century-long tradition of tolerance and peaceful coexistence of the most diverse religious communities and cultures”, the State Secretary said after his working meetings in Jakarta.
He also reiterated Austria’s interest in a far-reaching participation of Indonesia in the fifth forum of the Alliance of Civilisations in the year 2013 in Vienna. Indonesia could make an essential contribution to the dialogue of cultures and civilisations, Waldner said.
State Secretary Waldner and Indonesian Foreign Minister Natalegawa discussed the cooperation between the Southeast Asian community of states ASEAN and the European Union. Indonesia recently organised the semi-annual ASEAN summit in Bali (17-19 November) and Foreign Minister Natalegawa provided Waldner with first-hand information on the outcome of the summit. Also on the agenda were the most recent encouraging developments in Myanmar, which is currently striving to take over the ASEAN Presidency in the year 2014.
State Secretary Waldner acknowledged the successful efforts of the current Indonesian ASEAN Presidency and the personal commitment of Natalegawa: “The European Union is a role model of organising cooperation at regional level. Despite all the challenges we are currently facing, the EU is of absolute added value for the 27 member states and can therefore serve as an example for other regional partnerships”, the State Secretary said.
The high-point of his visit to Indonesia was the official opening ceremony of the new Austrian Embassy building in Jakarta. In the presence of Jakarta’s Vice-Governor Prof. Sutanto Suhodo, Waldner opened the low-energy building and was impressed by what he saw: With this pioneering project of a “green” embassy, Austria is at the forefront of sustainable architecture in the 18 million metropolis of Jakarta.“
The low-energy building was designed by Viennese architects “pos architekten” under the leadership of Fritz Oettl and is a hallmark of Austrian know-how in sustainable and ecological architecture, the State Secretary said. “I see the new embassy here in Jakarta as a call to strive for deeper bilateral relations with our Indonesian partners. The foundation for a more intensive exchange in science and research was laid today with the signing of a grant scheme”, State Secretary Waldner concluded.
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