Sweden to enhance ‘green’ programs in Indonesia

Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has pledged to improve ties with Indonesia with an emphasis on environmental programs that have been underway for some years, reports the Jakarta Post.

Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt (L) walks with Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono upon his arrival at Merdeka palace in Jakarta November 14. (REUTERS)

The commitment was made during Reinfeldt’s meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Wednesday in the first ever visit of a Swedish Prime Minister to Indonesia since the two countries’ diplomatic ties were established in 1952.

“At this historic moment, we have had a productive bilateral meeting with the spirit and commitment to improve cooperation in the sectors of trade, investment, environment, education, tourism and health,” Yudhoyono said in a joint press conference with Reinfeldt after the meeting held at the Merdeka Palace.

“We agreed that there were still many opportunities to improve ties in those sectors to benefit both Indonesia and Sweden,” he added.

The leader of the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country also said that he had told his Swedish counterpart that there was no contradiction between Islam and democracy and between the notion of development and democracy.

Reinfeldt, meanwhile, said that the bilateral discussions also touched on human rights issues but he did not disclose if he and his Indonesian counterpart had mentioned specific issues concerning the numerous allegations of human rights violations in Indonesia.

“We think Indonesia’s political and economic development is very impressive. It is now a global player of great importance both in the region and throughout the world, as a member of the G20 and the third largest democracy with very strong growth in its economy,” he said.

“We are both committed to global processes to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and to show the world that you can combine economic growth while at the same time lowering your greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.

Indonesian and Swedish institutions have been engaged in “green” programs, such as developing green cities and green airports, focusing on eight Indonesian cities, including Jakarta, Banda Aceh, Palangkaraya and Yogyakarta.

Before meeting with Yudhoyono, Reinfeldt, who was accompanied by Swedish Trade Minister Ewa Bjorling, attended a meeting involving dozens of Indonesian and Swedish businesspeople in a forum called “Roundtable Power Talk. Indonesia-Sweden, Unlocking the Innovation Potential,” organized by the Swedish Trade Council.

In January, Yudhoyono received a visit from Swedish King Carl Gustav XVI.

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