Ambassador speaks of Uzbek-Indonesian bilateral relations
|"Indonesia and Uzbekistan have positive prospects for the development of cooperation," said Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia to Uzbekistan Hasyim Saleh in the interview with UzReport.com dedicated to the completion of Ambassador's diplomatic mission in the country, held the day before his departure. |
- Mr Ambassador, you diplomatic mission in Uzbekistan lasted for several years. Would you please share your impressions about our country?
- I have worked in Uzbekistan for more than three years, and during this period I have come to love this country, its traditions and people whose hospitality has become its marking feature at the international arena.
My personal contacts not only with the journalists (a professional journalists' club was organised and meetings were conducted on regular basis), but also with the regular citizens and rural residents have helped me get to know you friendly nation better.
During my stay in Uzbekistan I have been to the cities of Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Nukus, and several cities of Ferghana valley.
My attention was attracted by the neatness, order, and trees and gardens planted around the cities and villages. All this, along with mild and warm weather, beautiful nature, wonderful taste of vegetables and sweetness of fruit made you country even more attractive and appealing, especially for those who have been here at least once.
In my spare time, which diplomats do not have much, I go in for sports – play tennis and do Indonesian gymnastics. I think one should try to stay in good shape and tonus, because all these factors have a positive effect on the health and performance at work.
That is why, as you have probably noticed, the embassy tries to support the initiatives on organisation of different types of sport events and competitions, such as bowling, tennis, etc.
- What experience of Uzbekistan was of the highest interest to you country?
- First of all, it is the export of technological processes on coal gasification, developed and used by the specialists of Angren Hydroelectric Power Station. It appears to have the potential to bring a practical benefit if implemented on Sumatra Island and is one of the prospective spheres in the development of our cooperation.
We brought the samples of Sumatran coal to Uzbekistan for local specialists to study and suggest on the processing technology.
Thus, the use of your priceless experience in energy sphere in our conditions is of special interest to Indonesia.
Uzbekistan, in turn, I think can be interested in Indonesian experience in the field of tourism.
- Indonesia and Uzbekistan are bound by ancient friendship, trade, economic and cultural ties. Mr. Saleh, could you please tell about the dynamics of the development of Indonesian-Uzbek cooperation during the past several years, their results and prospects. What, for instance, is being implemented in the framework of the international projects in the field of economics, transportation, culture and art, as well as the development of transport communication – on the revival of the Great Silk Road and tourism.
- Indonesia, just like Uzbekistan, is rich in the monuments of cultural heritage. But our nations are similar not only in the material (archaeology, architecture and art), but also in spiritual culture.
In particular, along with Buddhism we have ancient ages-old traditions of Muslim culture, because along with the overland caravan roads of the Great Silk Road, there also existed sea communication. And these trade routes were developed well over the course of the past two-three thousand years.
Thus, our countries have good traditions and long history of ancient bilateral relations, i.e. the foundation, which can be effectively developed in building cooperation.
Uzbekistan has unique Islamic sacred places, pilgrimage towards which is sometimes valued as much as Hajj to Mecca and Medina. Examples are mausoleums of Khokim at-Termizi, which is close to Termez, of Imam al-Bukhari near Samarkand, and of famous Sufi preceptor Nakshbandi near Bukhara. These eminent ancestors of the Uzbek nation are well-known to Muslims not only in Indonesia, but also in other countries of the world.
This is a unique opportunity for Uzbekistan to develop tourism on the routes to these sacred places.
We are ready to provide assistance in the development of these and many other prospective tourist routes, hotel, motel, and camping businesses and the development of roadside inter-city service of international level.
According to specialists, in order to speed up the progress of bilateral relations in the fields of tourism and business, direct air communication between the countries has to be put on the way.
In doing so, it would not be necessary to develop a whole new separate route, it would be enough to prolong the existing flights between Uzbekistan and Malaysia on the route Tashkent – Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta. Negotiations on this topic are carried on, and we hope for their productiveness.
One of the stumbling blocks hampering the flow of tourists to the country is the visa regime. And the success of the development of the tourist industry as well as the creation of new jobs in the field of service largely depend on whether the regime is favourable and the accommodation and traveling expenses are reasonable.
The results will benefit the residents of all countries involved in these processes on par mutually beneficial conditions. In Indonesia, just like in many other countries that have achieved positive results in the development of tourist industry and are now enjoying significant payoffs, these issues are solved simply, i.e. by a simplified scheme.
Thus, for instance, pursuant to the decision of the Indonesian government of 1 August, the citizens of Russian Federation arriving in our country for tourism or business purposes, including business negotiations, and as a part of cultural, scientific, sport and other exchanges, can receive the visa directly upon the arrival in the airports and sea ports.
The entrance visa in our country costs around US$10 for the stay of up to seven days, and US$25 for the stay of up to 30 days.
I would like to note that Indonesian capital is still taking a limited part in the economic activity on the territory of Uzbekistan. It is represented by the joint venture "Uzbekistan International" (provision of marketing services in the field of telecommunications) and a company with 100% Indonesian investment "PT Hikman Albros" (accommodation services).
That is why to speed up the progress of bilateral relations, whose potential is extremely vast, the first meeting of the intergovernmental commission for trade and economic and scientific and technical cooperation has been arranged.
At this time, however, the bilateral trade is limited to a few types of goods and services and does not correspond to the existing economic potential of the two countries.
Indonesia sells Uzbekistan electrical and mechanical equipment, food, pharmaceutical products and tobacco.
Center of Indonesian Language was established under the Samarkand Institute of Economics in 2001. Currently more than 20 students are studying there. The Embassy of Indonesia has provided the center computer technology, class equipment, literature and other study materials.
Professor of the institute N. Namozov, specialists in the history and culture of Indonesia has conducted a monographic research about President Sukarno and compiled an Uzbek-Indonesian dictionary with 3,000 words.
Samarkand State Institute of World Languages has the class of Indonesian language and culture, where students have the opportunity to study the language.
- Our bilateral relations have been developing particularly efficiently in the sphere of public diplomacy in the framework of the Union of Friendship Societies and Foreign Cultural and Educational Relations of Uzbekistan, as well as Uzbekistan-Indonesia (since September 2002) and Indonesia-Uzbekistan Friendship Societies.
- Along with this, we regularly conduct Indonesian festivals and exhibitions. This includes charity events organized on the territory of the embassy. Example is the charity fund raising that aimed to help the victims of the disastrous tsunami organized on the initiative of our Uzbek friends.
In the course of the cultural events we introduce our culture and traditions, particularly our national cuisine, music, dancing and art to the residents of Uzbek capital.
With the same aim in mind, and to share our experience, we organize trainings of Uzbek specialists in Indonesia.
All these measures helps bring the nations even closer, strengthen their friendship and cooperation on the grounds of improved mutual understanding. And I am glad that I have contributed to these good initiatives as an Ambassador of Indonesia to Uzbekistan.
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