31 January 2013

Liberia: Governments of Liberia and Indonesia Establish Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation, While Presidents Sirleaf and Yudhoyono Hold Bilateral Meeting

Monrovia — The Governments of Liberia and the Indonesia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the MOU between the two countries was signed by Liberia's Foreign Minister, Mr. Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa, on behalf of their respective governments at a ceremony in the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Foreign Ministry.

The Joint Commission is to facilitate consultation and cooperation between the two countries in various fields, including but not limited to economic, trade, cultural, tourism, financial, scientific, technology, agriculture and other technical sectors. The Commission is to also consider ways and means to promote consultation and cooperation and to ensure the proper coordination and implementation of its decisions and of the MOU.

The MOU came into effect as of the signing and will remain in force for a period of five years. Upon expiry, it shall automatically be consecutively renewed every five years, unless either Party wishes to terminate it by giving written notification six months in advance. However, the termination of the MOU shall not affect the completion of any ongoing program or project made under the MOU.

The Presidents of Liberia and Indonesia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Dr. H. Susil Bambang Yudhoyono, who witnessed the historic occasion, earlier held a bilateral meeting on the margins of the 3rd Meeting of the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda taking place in Monrovia. They also discussed regional and global issues of mutual interests.

In a Joint Communiqué issued following the bilateral meeting, the two leaders expressed gratification over the steady growth of friendly relations and cooperation existing between the two countries. This is the first visit of an Indonesian President to Liberia.

President Dr. Yudhoyono commended President Sirleaf for the many development achievements in Liberia under her leadership and expressed his country's strong commitment to supporting Liberia in its efforts to consolidate peace, security and achieve national development. President Sirleaf, for her part, expressed sincere appreciation for the participation of Indonesia's peacekeeping contingent in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

The two leaders recalled the historic Asia-Africa Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955 in which Liberia's delegation participated and was led by the then Secretary of State, H.E. Momolu Dukuly. "These facts," the Joint Communiqué stated, "indicate that Indonesia and Liberia have nurtured warm friendship and close bilateral ties even before the formal establishment of diplomatic relations in 1965."

Both leaders expressed their commitment to enhance and intensify bilateral trade and investment cooperation; noting the positive trends of enhanced bilateral trade by 17 percent in the last two years. They also welcomed the investment cooperation between the two countries particularly the investment projects made by Indonesian companies and by some Liberian companies in Indonesia. Golden Veroleum, an Indonesian company, with investment in Sinoe County.

To further enhance bilateral economic cooperation, both leaders agreed that the relevant ministries/agencies of the two countries shall work together to open up window of opportunities for intensified trade and investment cooperation involving the private sectors of both countries.

The Indonesian President expressed his country's readiness to offer technical support such as training in agriculture, including rice production, fishery, rubber processing, aqua-culture, furniture production and small and medium enterprise (SME). In the field of education, President Yudhoyono invited Liberian students to participate in some Indonesian scholarship schemes.

Both leaders welcomed the signing of the MOU establishing the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) by the two Foreign Ministers. "The JCBC will serve as an important forum to promote bilateral ties and cooperation between the two countries," the Joint Communiqué stated. Both leaders instructed their respective Foreign Ministers to optimize the use of the JCBC by meeting regularly at a mutually convenient time and place.

The two Presidents also agreed for Liberia and Indonesia to appoint honorary consuls in an effort to further consolidate bilateral economic cooperation as well as to provide consular services and visas.

President Yudhoyono invited President Sirleaf to pay a state visit to Indonesia. President Sirleaf heartily accepted the invitation. The details will be finalized through diplomatic channels.

The two Presidents spoke highly of the friendly relations and cooperation between Africa and Asia, and expressed their willingness to work together to promote the New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership. President Sirleaf particularly praised Indonesia's commitment to a stronger partnership with Africa; while reiterating their support for a global order based on political independence, freedom, justice and long-lasting peace among nations.

Both sides expressed satisfaction with the outcomes of the bilateral talks. President Dr. Yudhoyono expressed his appreciation and gratitude to President Sirleaf, the Government and People of Liberia for their warm hospitality during the visit and for the excellent arrangements of the bilateral talks.

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