OIC praises Ri for democratic credentials

OIC praises Ri for democratic credentials

The United States recently not only praised Indonesia for adopting democracy but also expressed its willingness to make Indonesia its new partner in boosting relations with the Muslim world. Likewise, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) commended Indonesia for continuously showing the world how Islam and democracy can live in harmony.

On Monday, OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu met with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and conveyed the OIC’s “appreciation” to Indonesia for showing that democracy could emerge in the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population.

“The secretary-general of the OIC said Indonesia played a significant role in developing Islam and democracy simultaneously,” presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal told reporters after the meeting between the two leaders at Merdeka State Palace in Jakarta.

He added Ihsanoglu also appreciated Indonesia’s push for reforms within the OIC. The reform includes the adoption of democratic values to make it more relevant to the 21st century.

As part of the reforms, the OIC has begun working on building a bridge between the Muslim world and the West, such as by inviting representatives from Western countries, including the US, to its 11th Ordinary Conference in Dakar, Senegal. The conference discussed how to cope with negative images of Islam.
“One of the principles the OIC has adopted is that the Muslim world has to build a bridge with the Western world. The OIC has to be part of the bridge because there will be no peace without this bridge between the East and the West, the North and the South, and so on,” Dino said.

Continue peace in the Philippines

Continue peace in the Philippines

The OIC also asked Indonesia to continue its role in mediating peace efforts between the Philippine government and Muslims in the southern Philippines.

Yudhoyono, on the other hand, emphasized the need for the OIC to continue its reform process and the need for OIC member states to boost trade activities among themselves. He added the member states needed to fulfill their commitment to the “Ten-year Action Plans” signed during the conference in Senegal by increasing intra-Muslim trade volume to 20 percent of the Muslim countries’ total trade from the current 16 percent.

Yudhoyono also met separately with Moroccan Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, who, along with Ihsanoglu, were attending the opening of the four-day Fifth World Islamic Economic Forum.

The four leaders agreed to boost economic cooperation among Islamic countries through the forum.
In his meeting with El Fassi, Yudhoyono praised Morocco’s democracy, citing the upcoming parliamentary elections in the North African country and the emerging role of women in its Cabinet.
Yudhoyono did not, as expected, talk much about Indonesia’s bilateral relations with Malaysia while meeting with Abdullah. Dino said the two “best friends” talked more as friends, with Abdullah set to leave office later this month.

The two leaders, however, agreed they must immediately realize the Chiang Mai Initiative as a follow-up to the recent ASEAN Summit.

The initiative was drafted under the ASEAN Plus Three framework, which aims for the creation of a network of bilateral swap arrangements (BSAs) among ASEAN Plus Three countries.

Industrial sector growth

Industrial sector growth

The growth of industrial sector is followed by trade and services sector, particularly those locate in the cities. The trade activities showed an increasing trend, 6% per annum and non-oil & gas export increased 8%. Meanwhile, the export volume and value of trade and services are led to the enhancement of service capability and ability to fulfill the standard of services related to the sectoral needs and it is expected to play as a regional economic locomotive.

There are several investment opportunities that can be optimised, such as agro-industry, manufacturing, services, tourism, and construction. Besides supported by complete infrastructure and huge natural resources, the province provides skilled and educated labor.

Geographically, the West Java province is situated between 5°50 – 7°50 South Latitude and 104°48 108°48 East Longitude.

The government administration is set into 22 Regencies/administrative cities, classified into 16 regencies and 6 administrative.

The largest is regency Sukabumi (3,160.51 sq km) and the smallest is Kota Cirebon (36.97 sq km).

The average rainfall ranges between 1,431 – 4,539 mm/year and its temperature varies between 15°C – 31°C.

President Receives South Thailand delegation

President Receives South Thailand delegation

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received a South Thailand delegation that had held peace talks with Thai government representatives at the State Palace here on Monday.

Minister/State Secretary Hatta Radjasa said the delegation was led by the chairman of the Consultative Council of the Patani Malay People, Wahyuddin Mohammad.

Earlier, last Saturday, President Yudhoyono received the Thai government delegation to the peace talks led by General Khwanchart Klahan.

“The President received the two rival parties in connection with our effort in mediating a peace process in South Thailand,” Radjasa said.

The two rival parties held their talks at the presidential palace in Bogor last Saturday and Sunday, moderated by Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

They produced several points as reference for making a framework for their next meeting. They had also signed notes on the meeting`s results.

According to plan, they would meet again on November 1-2, 2008 and November 14, 2008 also at the Bogor presidential palace.

The minister said the Indonesian government was only mediating between the two parties who wished to seek peace in South Thailand.

“Do not say it was our initiative to play a role. This is the wish of the two parties as part of their efforts to end their conflict. Indonesia was considered an experienced mediator and the largest country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean),” he said.

Indonesia, he said, would certainly not have assumed the mediating role if the two parties had not wanted it.

Apart from being one of Thailand`s close neighbours with experience in resolving armed conflicts, Indonesia also wished for peace to prevail in Thailand, Radjasa said.

Indonesia to host asian-african conference on palestine

Indonesia to host asian-african conference on palestine

Indonesia and South Africa will co-chair an Asian-African Conference on Palestine in Jakarta, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

“The foreign ministerial level conference is aimed at increasing Palestine`s capacity,” Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said here on Friday.

The conference differs from the donors` conference held in Paris several months ago because the Jakarta conference would put emphasis on building Palestine`s capacity, he said.

“It will focus on implementable projects,” Faizasyah said.

Faizasyah said the idea to hold the conference came up after seeing that 50 years after the Afro-Asian Conference in Bandung in 1955, it had turned out that there was still a country which had not yet gained independence.

“Asian-African countries have experience in development. We hope our efforts will complement other international efforts to assist Palestine,” he said.

He said Asian-African countries had agreed to continue encouraging efforts to create peace in the region and support Palestinian independence.

In the meantime, Director for Intra-Regional Cooperation Affairs for Asia-Pacific and Africa, Ibnu Hadi said Asian-African countries had a commitment to provide assistance to Palestine.

“These are programs to be carried out through a G-to-G cooperation but the involvement of the private sector is not ruled out,” he said.

Asked whether Indonesia will invite representatives from Hamas, Hadi said the invitation for Palestine was addressed to the Palestinian government, not to any particular groups in that country.

Besides Asian and African countries, according to Hadi, Indonesia also would invite countries in the Latin American region such as Cuba, Braziland Venezuela.

“The objective of this conference is to stress the readiness of Palestine,” he said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, when he visited Indonesia in late 2007, said he hailed the Indonesian plan to host the conference.

At the end of 2007 and early in 2008, two conferences on Palestine were held, namely the Annapolis conference in the United States and the conference of donor countries in Paris.

Agricultural sector shift

Agricultural sector shift

The province plays important role to the Indonesian economyaas it has contributed 15.67% of the national economy. In 2001, the economic growth of west java figured out 4.06% (including oil & gas). The structure of the West Java economy has been shifting into industrial manufacturing from the agriculture sector.

Based on the growth and contribution to the regional economy, the economic sectors fall into 3 categories, namely first substantial contribution and above average growth-rate sector such as industrial manufacturing, trade, hotel and restaurant sectors.

Second, agriculture sectors that contributed relatively high although it has diminishing contribution. The third, potential sectors such as transportation and communication. Industrial manufacturing has significantly generated the regional economy.

Almost 60% of Indonesian manufacturing industries are located in west Java. They accounted approximately 22.6% of the national industrial sectors. But, high dependent of imported materials makes the sector sensitive to the economic crisis. As a result, the industrial manufacturing policy is directed to strengthen the industrial structure on the basis of local materials, technology oriented, and having global and local competitiveness.