The Hague, The Gulf Observer: In a bilateral meeting held in The Hague, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi engaged in discussions with Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Hanke Bruins Slot on a range of crucial issues, reaffirming the strong partnership between the two nations.
Highlighting the significance of the Netherlands as a key partner in Europe, Minister Marsudi underscored its role as Indonesia’s largest trade and investment partner on the continent, with a substantial impact on the tourism sector. The ministers expressed optimism about the effective implementation of the Action Plan for 2024-2025, previously signed in Jakarta in October 2023.
Several priority areas for bilateral cooperation were emphasized during the meeting, including energy transition, digital industry collaboration, and the return of historical objects to Indonesia. Minister Marsudi particularly stressed the importance of sustainable palm oil production, constituting 14% of Indonesia’s total exports to the Netherlands.
In the context of the new capital city development, Nusantara, both nations reaffirmed their commitment to collaboration, with a specific focus on sustainable city concepts and water-related initiatives. The Netherlands expressed full support for Indonesia’s application to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The ministers also deliberated on cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU). With a combined population exceeding 650 million, ASEAN and the EU hold immense potential for collaboration. Minister Marsudi highlighted ongoing negotiations regarding the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Indonesia and the EU, expressing hope for a successful conclusion in the near future.
Minister Marsudi drew attention to EU policies perceived as disadvantageous to Indonesia, particularly those related to palm oil and the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR). She reiterated Indonesia’s commitment to industrial downstreaming and sought continued Dutch support for the Indonesia-EU CEPA negotiations.
In addressing the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Minister Marsudi expressed concerns about donor countries, including the Netherlands, suspending financial support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Both ministers emphasized the need for a comprehensive and transparent investigation into Israel’s accusations regarding UNRWA staff involvement in the October 7 attack, highlighting the potential exacerbation of the already dire humanitarian situation due to the suspension of financial aid.
The meeting concluded with a shared commitment to a two-state solution for the Palestine-Israel conflict and an optimistic outlook for the future of Indonesia-Netherlands cooperation.