Jakarta – Indonesia will encourage increased trade and tourism cooperation with Palestine to help the Palestinian economy. This commitment was expressed by the Indonesian Ambassador to Jordan and Palestine Andy Rachmianto during an official meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah in Ramallah, last week.
This was the Ambassador’s first official visit to the Palestinian capital. The visit is part of the 30th anniversary of the Indonesia-Palestinian bilateral relations on 19 October 2019. During the visit, the Indonesian Ambassador and the Palestinian Prime Minister discussed efforts to increase cooperation between the two countries in various fields.
One of the important points discussed was the effort to improve cooperation in trade and commerce to help the Palestinian economy. For the record, during January-November 2018, trade volume between the two countries reached US $ 3.2 million, an increase of more than 60% compared to the same period of 2017.
In the tourism sector, the number of Indonesian tourists visiting Palestine reaches an average of 90,000 people every year. This figure is expected to be increased to more than 100,000 people in the following years.
The Indonesian government will review efforts to increase trade with Palestine through the provision of a broader 0% import duty policy for Palestinian products, as has been applied for dates and olive oil. While to increase the number of tourists to Palestine, the Indonesian Government will encourage travel agents to offer umrah packages plus Palestine to Indonesian worshipers to visit Palestine.
In the field of humanity, for the past 10 years Indonesia has provided a number of assistance in training and capacity building programs in various fields to more than 1,900 Palestinian participants with total assistance reaching US $ 10 million.
A number of expertise offered include the development of small and medium enterprises, women’s empowerment, infrastructure maintenance, and good governance. In addition, the Indonesian government is working with a number of Indonesian universities to sign a memorandum of understanding to provide educational scholarships to more than 130 Palestinian students starting this year.
Representing the Palestinian government and people, the Palestinian PM expressed his sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Indonesia for their continued support. “Indonesia continues to uphold its principles in supporting the struggle of the Palestinian people for independence. Indonesia is more than just a friend to Palestine, “he stressed.
In addition to meeting with Palestinian PMs in Ramallah, during the visit, Ambassador Andy also met with the Minister of Economy, Minister of Tourism, Commander of the National Security Force, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. In addition, Ambassador Andy also paid courtesy visits to governors and mayors in Jericho, Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus, and met with other work partners, such as the Friendship Association, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the YMCA institution, and Al Najah National University.