Indonesia, UK strengthen bilateral ties & call for end to violence in Myanmar
By Devina Halim
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AA):- Indonesia and the UK on Wednesday urged Myanmar’s military to avoid coercive tactics in dealing with protests against the Feb. 1 coup and instead engage in dialogue to restore peace and stability in the country. Indonesia and UK also agreed for strengthening bilateral ties in health, economy, defense, security and terrorism.
“We share the same concern and continue to call on the Myanmar military to stop using force to prevent further civilian casualties,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told a virtual news conference after a meeting with her British counterpart Dominic Raab in the capital Jakarta.
They also urged for conditions conducive to dialogue to put democracy, peace, and stability back on track.
Marsudi added that they also discussed how the international community, including the UK, could support the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in resolving the Myanmar issue.
At least 581 people have been killed since Myanmar’s military seized power, according to human rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Strengthening bilateral ties
UK Foreign Secretary also met Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo to discuss the growing UK-Indonesia trade partnership now worth £2.7 billion a year. He also met Health Minister Budi Sadikin where they discussed the importance of international collaboration in pandemic preparedness. In his final meeting in Jakarta, Dominic Raab spoke to ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi as the UK looks to progress closer ties with the key regional bloc.
During the meeting, Marsudi also listed three areas of bilateral cooperation with the UK, including strengthening partnerships in the health sector, and said Indonesia proposed that this industry be included as one of the forum’s core components.
“Some areas where we can work together are research and development for the health and pharmaceutical industries, and collaboration for vaccine production,” she said.
The other points, according to Marsudi, are accelerating economic recovery efforts and strengthening defense and security cooperation.
During the meeting, the two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen cooperation against terrorism.
Raab, on his part, said he is looking forward to working with Indonesia in the security and maritime sectors, as well as supporting the country’s infrastructure development.
He said both the countries needed to continue working side by side in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have to work together, including making sure everyone has equal access to vaccines,” said Raab.
The top British diplomat added that he is looking forward to further cooperation that will benefit both countries’ people.
* Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo with Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language services in Jakarta.
Additional report by The Muslim News
[Photo: UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jakarta, Indonesia in South East Asia on 7 April 2021. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street]
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