Marty: 2011 Diplomacy Marked by New, More Robust Ties

Ronna Nirmala | The Jakarta Globe

Reflecting on the year just passed, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on Wednesday noted that Indonesia opened diplomatic relations with nine countries in 2011.

The new relations nearly halved the list of 21 countries with which Indonesia had no diplomatic ties when the year began.

“The nine countries are Mauritania, El Salvador, San Marino, Montenegro, the Dominican Republic, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Antigua and Barbuda, and Bhutan,” Marty said in a press statement.

Marty said that in 2011, five foreign governments opened missions here: Fiji, Colombia, Belarus, Paraguay and China, which opened a consulate in Medan, North Sumatra.

He said 16 countries also opened representative missions with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which is headquartered in Jakarta. Those 16 brought the total number of countries with accredited ambassadors to Asean to 61.

“In 2012, several countries are planning to open permanent representative offices with Asean … This will strengthen Indonesia’s position, especially Jakarta’s position, as one of the capital centers in the East Asia region,” Marty said.

During 2011, the government signed at least 146 international agreements aimed at increasing cooperation with friendly countries, he said.

“From the 146 international agreements, 131 are bilateral agreements,” he said.

The government, he added, would continue its efforts to strengthen existing bilateral relations with several countries.

“In a systematic way, the [cooperative] mechanisms were being revitalized last year, and in 2012 there will be further sharpening of the revitalization, for example with Timor Leste, New Zealand, Malaysia, the United States and Japan,” he said.

Marty said the legislature had ratified 26 agreements, 90 percent of which were bilateral, and about 60 percent of which concerned the economic sector.

Efforts to enhance trade and investment ties with friendly nations remained a priority, part of what the foreign minister called “economic diplomacy.”

“To ascertain whether there is an increase in the volume and quality of trade between Indonesia and friendly countries, especially with our strategic partners, trade targets have been set as a measure of the performance of our economic diplomacy,” he said.

He said that in 2011, Indonesia’s bilateral trade increased significantly, averaging above 50 percent in annual trade growth with 13 of the country’s strategic partners.