Jakarta – Bilateral ties between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia will continue to grow, Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia Esam A. Abid Althagafi has said.
"I'd like to describe Indonesia's relations with Saudi Arabia as being based on the strong ties of Islamic brotherhood," Esam said during a Saudi National Day reception in Jakarta on Monday evening as quoted by Antara news agency.
Indonesia and Saudi Arabia enjoy historically close bonds, with the latter being among the first countries that acknowledged Indonesia's independence. Bilateral ties between the two nations have been characterized by the haj, manpower and energy issues.
Yet in terms of investment, Indonesia has seen weaker capital inflow from Saudi Arabia toward Indonesia. The Middle Eastern kingdom is ranked 40th on the list of Indonesia's sources for realized foreign investments, with US$5.3 million invested in 2018, according to the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM).
Esam said he believed that bilateral cooperation would continue to increase under the leadership of Saudi King Salman and President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who went to Saudi Arabia in April on a visit that focused primarily on economic cooperation, particularly in energy and tourism.
In addition to meeting King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, Jokowi at that time also held talks with then-minister for energy, industry and mineral resources, Khalid Al-Falih, to discuss investments of state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Aramco) in a refinery project in Cilacap, Central Java.
Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, who was among the guests attending Monday's reception, reiterated Indonesia's commitment to intensifying bilateral ties between the two countries.
"It is a commitment of the two leaders to improve trade, economic ties, investment and tourism," Lukman said as quoted by Antara. "Indonesia hopes for an increase in investment and trade with Saudi Arabia." (ipa)