Embarking on an official visit to Indonesia, I would like to share a few thoughts about present and future relations between our countries, about the foundations of our cooperation for over half a century, and the prospects for our work together at the beginning of the new millennium.
Indonesia and Russia are more than just two states large in size and population. They represent two unique and ancient civilizations enormously rich in culture. Jakarta and Moscow both serve as capitals of multinational countries where people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds have lived and worked side by side for centuries. Both our states have gone through complex paths of development. Their current dynamic progress and successes at the international scene result from the enormous creative work and strenuous effort of our peoples.
Looking back at the history of Indonesia-Russia relations we first of all recall their most glorious moments. Our country was among the first to acknowledge the independence of Indonesia and express solidarity with the Indonesian people fighting for their freedom. We are proud to note the assistance of Soviet experts in building the Krakatau steel plant, the highway network in Kalimantan, the research nuclear reactor in Jogjakarta, the Friendship Hospital and the Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.
Cherishing these traditions of friendly mutual assistance Russia lent ahelping hand to Indonesia during the grave ordeal caused by the tsunami in December2004. Iam glad that our Indonesian friends– both older and younger generations– are aware of and remember that.
I cannot help mentioning that recently the relations between Russia and Indonesia have gained a new momentum and become an important issue on the international agenda of our countries.
Political dialogue between Moscow and Jakarta has been developing steadily. The official visit of Mr.SusiloYudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia, to Moscow late last year was a significant event with tangible results, confirming that Russian-Indonesian cooperation has a promising future, in the spirit of the 2003 Declaration on Principles of Friendly and Partnership Relations between the two countries in the 21stcentury. Increased inter-parliamentary relations and intensified cooperation between various ministries and other agencies show that both sides are interested in promoting their cooperation.
However, today we want to go beyond such gradual rapprochement. We are ready to start a new page in our relations with Indonesia. Ithink that there is a solid foundation for this, as well as time-tested experience and substantial pre-requisites to build upon.
We note the dynamic and independent foreign policy of Jakarta seeking to play a constructive role in world and regional affairs. The election of Indonesia as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 20072008 testifies to the acknowledgement of its international prestige. Due to the proximity of our positions on the key issues of today, Indonesian and Russian representatives are closely cooperating within the framework of the United Nations.
Today, when international relations are undergoing aperiod of difficult and important transformation and when the future world order is being decided, Indonesia and Russia stand consistently for strengthening the collective principles and the rule of international law. We have a similar point of view on the central role of the UN, which has a unique legitimacy. We share the principles of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and non-interference in their internal affairs. But above all, we are ready to enhance cooperation with all interested parties with a view to building an equitable world order, ensuring stability and security at both global and regional levels.
Last December President Susilo Yudhoyono visited the Cathedral Mosque in St.Petersburg– the biggest in Russia and one of the most important mosques in Europe. It is not just a symbol for us. We support mutual respect in all matters concerning culture and civilization. The dialogue with Indonesia as one of the leading states in the Muslim world and as a country with the largest Muslim population is of particular interest for Russia. We are ready to search together for ways of establishing an inter-confessional mutual understanding, so necessary under the present circumstances — including within the framework of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, where our country obtained observer status with the support of Indonesia.
It is essential for this purpose that the dialogue between policy-makers be backed up by contacts between public figures, youth, and ordinary people from both countries. It is imperative to tap more fully into our potential for bilateral humanitarian cooperation and exchanges in education and culture.
We consider Indonesia as a key and promising partner of Russia in the Asia-Pacific region, and as one of the most important ”growth points“ of the world economy.
Trade between our countries has almost doubled during the last few years. This figure is fairly encouraging. But today's trade volume of USD600million is unlikely to correspond to the capacity of both countries with a combined population close to 400million people. A level of trade amounting to USD1billion seems possible to reach over the next few years.
The improvement of the legal framework for cooperation, the diversification of economic ties, their extension to science-based, high technology sectors, and the development of technical and scientific collaboration will help to advance this end. We consider energy, space technologies, telecommunications, the aviation industry and peaceful nuclear power to be most promising areas of cooperation.
We need a vital breakthrough in investment and inter-bank cooperation. Both our governments and major companies are working to reach this goal. Abusiness forum coinciding with the forthcoming visit will offer agood opportunity for specific discussion of the whole range of issues of economic cooperation. The holding of this forum confirms once again the growing mutual interest of the Russian and Indonesian businesses.
The number of Russians visiting Indonesia to discover the wonderful and diverse world of Indonesian nature and culture is growing every year. The total number of Russian tourists in Indonesia exceeded 20,000people in 2006, and the number is growing. Indonesians are also welcome in Russia.
I expect that the forthcoming visit will significantly accelerate the movement of our two countries towards each other and promote a sound and forward-looking partnership based on mutual confidence and friendship. Iam confident that we have everything to do it. See you in Jakarta!