Erwida Maulia & Ezra Sihite
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is set to depart this weekend to Berlin and Budapest for a six-day visit, in an effort to further strengthen Indonesia’s bond with Germany and arrange a new weaponry deal with Hungary.
The presidential office in Jakarta said in a press statement that Yudhoyono’s upcoming visit was at the invitation of both German President Joachim Gauck and Hungarian President Janos Ader.
Presidential spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said Yudhoyono’s visit to Germany reflected Indonesia’s growing bond with the euro zone’s largest economy as it would take place just seven months after German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Jakarta.
“This highest level of intensity of reciprocal visits will ensure a thorough implementation of the partnership agreement between the two countries,” Faizasyah said in the statement released on Thursday.
He added Yudhoyono would engage in separate bilateral meetings with Gauck and Merkel to discuss follow-ups to the comprehensive partnership agreement Yudhoyono and Merkel launched in Jakarta in July.
Trade and investment, defense, research and technology, health and education partnerships are all on the agenda for the meetings.
“And they will also discuss cooperation on food and energy resilience, as well as in the transportation sector,” Faizasyah said. “In a bilateral meeting with the German chancellor, they will announce the names of members of the Indonesia-German Advisory Group.”
While in Berlin, Yudhoyono will also meet former German President Horst Kohler, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Berlin Mayor Herr Klaus Wowereit.
He is scheduled to open the International Tourism Bourse together with Merkel, attend a business forum with executives of top German companies and meet with the Indonesian community in the area.
The Berlin visit is scheduled for Sunday to Tuesday, and will be continued with a three-day visit to Budapest immediately after.
Faizasyah said the Hungarian visit was expected to “revitalize” Indonesia’s bilateral relationship with “one of the key nations” in central and eastern Europe.
The last visit of an Indonesian president to Hungary was in 2002, by then-President Megawati Soekarnoputri.
“Hungary has a strategic position to Indonesia as an entrance for Indonesia’s economic interests to the East and Central Europe regions,” Faizasyah said.
Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said on Friday the president was mulling a weaponry deal with Hungary..
“In the past, the Indonesian Military officials often used weaponry from the Eastern Bloc states,” Purnomo said after a meeting with Yudhoyono in Jakarta.
Faizasyah said Yudhoyono will engage in separate bilateral meetings with Ader and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest.
“The meetings will discuss efforts to boost our bilateral relationship, specifically in the economic sector,” Faizasyah said.
Yudhoyono and his entourage are expected to return to Indonesia on March 9.