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Asia

German Foreign Minister's Asia Tour Kicks Off in Indonesia

Highlights of Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s visit included the attendance of a ceremony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the German school in the capital Jakarta as well as a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Hassan Wirayuda to discuss matters ranging from the economy to inter-religious dialogue.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Germany and Indonesia enjoy warm relations, the Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda told a joint press conference after holding talks with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

He said that the two had discussed how to expand their close bilateral relations: “Indonesia has been improving on different fronts, not only in our democratisation process, but also on the economic front -- we are on a steady increase in our economic growth.

“I’m sure this will allow us to reach out to our friends, including Germany, and promote better economic cooperation.”

For his part, Frank-Walter Steinmeier commented that Germany and Europe were very aware of the economic growth in Southeast Asia, and had been looking at the region’s dynamism with great interest.

Religion and climate change

The two ministers also discussed how Germany and Europe could learn from Indonesia’s approach to religion and its experience, as the country with the highest Muslim population in the world, accommodating several religions and promoting inter-faith dialogue.

Steinmeier said the two countries could also co-operate on another matter of global importance: “The question of international climate protection and energy policies.”

“At a European level, we’ve taken responsibility by setting up several European initiatives whereas Indonesia organised the important international conference on Bali and took charge of launching the process, which will hopefully take us to a point that we can develop a successor regime for the Kyoto Protocol by the end of next year.”

Pressure on Myanmar

Last but not least, the situation in Myanmar was discussed, with Steinmeier calling on China to support the international community in its efforts to put pressure on the junta to introduce democratic reforms.

“Together we will support the United Nations mission and insist that political change takes place,” he told reporters. “We need the support of all neighbouring countries -- not only the ASEAN states but especially the support of China. An important signal for such change would of course be the release of all political prisoners.”

After the press conference, Steinmeier attended the 50th anniversary celebrations of the German school in Jakarta. He will travel onto Singapore and Vietnam before returning to Germany.

  • Date 27.02.2008
  • Author Anne Thomas
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  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/LsD7
  • Date 27.02.2008
  • Author Anne Thomas
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/LsD7