Indonesia and Germany said Wednesday they want to work together in the energy sector to generate renewable, cleaner sources of energy, in efforts to curtail climate change.
Germany's foreign minister and Vice-Chancellor Frank-Walter Steinmeier is on a three-day visit to build relations with Indonesia and has met with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his counterpart Hassan Wirayuda and the secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Surin Pitsuwan.
Steinmeier should fly to Singapore on Thursday and then on to Vietnam.
Hassan said, "We discussed energy cooperation to provide electricity, whether from nuclear-fired power plants or other types of plants, especially looking at Germany's specialty in coal-fired plants".
"We hope we can produce cleaner energy," he said.
Indonesia is heavily dependent on its depleting fossil fuel reserves. It has become a net oil importer is now searching for suitable technology for renewable energy sources.
To help mitigate climate change, Hassan said Germany had offered some 24 million euros (about US$35.5 million) for reforestation programs in Indonesia.
Indonesia had the fastest pace of deforestation in the world between 2000-2005, with an area of forest equivalent to 300 soccer pitches destroyed every hour, Greenpeace said.
But Indonesia has said it wants industrialized countries to pay developing nations to preserve their forests under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism.
Germany and Indonesia have signed five debt swap deals, with Indonesia's debts totaling 143.57 million euros written-off for advanced educational programs, assistance to small and medium-sized firms and programs fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Bilateral trade in 2006 reached $3.48 billion up from $2.49 billion in 2002, with German investment at $18.5 million in 2007.
International relation analyst Dewi Fortuna Anwar of the National Institute of Science (LIPI) said Germany was expanding its partnership toward growing markets in the region.
"Now that Germany's done with its reunification process and assisting Eastern European countries, it is seeking new fields," she said.
"Indonesia is in dire need of renewable energy and Germany is well-known for its technology."
Steinmeier also took note of the integration of ASEAN, to take place by 2015 with a combined population of 568 million, saying Germany had assured during its European Union presidency last year that an EU-ASEAN enhanced partnership was in place.
He and ASEAN's Pitsuwan concluded Wednesday a two-million-euro German-ASEAN cooperation project on capacity building for the ASEAN secretariat.
"I'm pleased to see the direction ASEAN is taking toward a free flow market of capital and trade," Steinmeier said.
"We are ready to support financially for that process," he said.