23 Indonesia missions take part
KUWAIT CITY, Nov 18: The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Kuwait hosted a regional meeting of representatives on the topic of Digital Diplomacy at the Movenpick Hotel and Resort Al Bidaa on Monday morning and launched a new tourism promotion campaign.
The seminar was attended by 61 participants representing 23 Indonesian missions from the Middle East and Africa, in the presence of HE Cecep Harawan, Director General for Information and Public Diplomacy from the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On the sidelines of the event, the Indonesian Ambassador, HE Tri Tharyat, also launched a new outdoor media campaign focused on public transportation to raise awareness on Indonesia as a tourism destination as well as to encourage people-to-people contacts between the two countries. Ambassador Tharyat shared that the development of capacities for digital diplomacy was a very important undertaking for the MOFA in Jakarta.
He stressed that a paradigm shift in diplomacy was needed to contend with the borderless and fast-moving world of the internet and social media and stated that embassies today have to move away from old bureaucratic mechanisms and adopt new approaches and equip their staff with the knowledge and tools pertaining to the digital medium in order to increase connectivity, enhance responsiveness to world events, counter fake news, and use data as a basis for policy recommendations.
On the launch of the new outdoor media campaign, Ambassador Tharyat shared, “In the last three years we have only received 21,000 Kuwaiti visitors, that number is quite low when compared to other South East Asian countries.” He was optimistic that the media campaign would successfully raise awareness and result in an increase in number of Kuwaiti visitors.
He highlighted other initiatives undertaken by the Embassy in this regard such as inviting Kuwaiti journalists and bloggers to Indonesia. He informed that a bilateral meeting between the Ministry of Transport of Indonesia and Kuwait Airways officials will take place in Amman, Jordan next month, on the side-lines of a regional conference.
He believes that this is a promising step and is hopeful for the resumption of a direct flight from Kuwait to Jakarta to not only increase the number of Kuwaiti tourists but also facilitate greater people-topeople contact. He pointed out that Indonesia has a visa free policy for citizens of 169 countries for a stay of up to 30 days.
Speaking on the Kuwaiti-Indonesian bilateral relationship, Ambassador Tharyat expressed his gratitude for the generosity of the Kuwaiti government and the assistance provided to Indonesia during difficult times of contending with natural disasters.
He discussed the excellent political cooperation between the two countries as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council in supporting each other in different issues of common concern such as the Palestinian issue and the peace and security in the Arab region.
He highlighted that Kuwait and Indonesia’s membership has been optimized for the benefit of other Muslim countries. He shared that a Joint Committee between members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait and Indonesia was held on Sept 1 during the visit of the Indonesian foreign minister to Kuwait.
A second highlevel meeting of this nature will be held in Jakarta at the end of 2020. Ambassador Tharyat shared that he led a business delegation from Kuwait to Indonesia this year that resulted in some deals being struck.
On the broader agenda, negotiations on an investment agreement between Kuwait and Indonesia were ongoing for five years. He shared that the first round of negotiations was held this year and the first draft is being discussed internally in Kuwait.
The second round will be held early next year and the ambassador expressed his hope that a bilateral agreement on investment will be signed next year. In terms of investments, he shared that Kuwait had traditionally invested in the oil and gas sector, and had signed a new contract for exploring gas in Indonesia. He informed that there were other projects in the pipeline that will materialize in the near future. He shared that trade volumes between the two countries has been an untapped potential but welcomed the increased number of Indonesian goods coming to Kuwait. The number of Indonesian expats in Kuwait has dwindled from 72,000 in 2009 to 6,400.
The moratorium on sending domestic workers to Kuwait is unchanged but a mechanism for a yearly policy review is in place, Ambassador Tharyat informed. “We enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship with Kuwait, especially in the political sphere but we are aiming to strength our cooperation in other fields as well such as our economic relations”, Deputy Minister Herawan remarked. He highlighted that international financial and economic institutions have made predictions that Indonesia will be among the world’s top five largest economies.
He identified this recognition not just as an opportunity for Indonesia but for all those who partner and invest in Indonesia. He stated that investment in massive infrastructure projects was open to Kuwait not only in Indonesia but also in the dynamic and peaceful South East Asian region. He informed that Indonesia was working towards greater Indo-Pacific cooperation and connectivity through ASEAN on the principle of inclusivity for all interested parties.
As the most populous Islamic country in the world, Indonesia has exerted efforts in providing a new perspective towards Islam and Muslims.
For this, Indonesia has hosted a number of conferences to provide better information and knowledge for the people of the world concerning the middle path of Islam. Herawan stressed that the image of Islam projected in the media today was false and urged Muslim countries to work together to present the real, moderate presentation of Islam and tackle internal issues between Muslim nations through open channels of communication and trust.
By Cinatra Alvares Arab Times Staff