Indonesia plays very important role in ASEAN: EU High Representative

14 November, 2013 | Source: Republika

European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton has said that Indonesia plays a tremendously important role in the ASEAN region, particularly on humanitarian issues.

"You (Indonesia) are an important country in this region. And you play a tremendously (important) role in this region with what is going on. You and I (the EU) were in charge of (engaging) Myanmar, et cetera," Ashton said at a joint press conference with Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa, here on Monday.

Ashton also highlighted Indonesia′s role in addressing democracy and human rights issues and building analyst capacity in the ASEAN region.

"I came to Jakarta to strengthen our political dialogue on the many issues we face globally and (hope) that we can work together to strengthen democracy, human rights and analyst capacity," she said.

As the EU High Representative and Vice President of the EU Commission, Ashton added that the EU would like to participate in the development of the ASEAN and would like to help and support countries in this region through changes and development.

"But equally, we look at you (Indonesia) in this region for a win-win (situation). You have to address the challenges we face, and we look forward to continue this dialogue," she said.

Minister Natalegawa said Ashton is very concerned with Asia-Pacific developments and has made a huge contribution to strengthening the relationship between Indonesia and the EU.

"On the political side, Indonesia and the EU have agreed to identify various problems and issues that attract common interest, such as democratization, human rights, the irregular movements of individuals and other trans-national affairs," he remarked.

Besides these issues, the EU High Representative and Minister of Foreign Affairs also discussed economic cooperation in trade and investment and agreed to establish a Partnership Cooperation Agreement that would address the steps and efforts that should be made to enhance the Indonesia-EU relationship.

During the visit, the EU High Representative inaugurated the "EU-ASEAN Cooperation Office" at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta.


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