Wed, 23 Apr 2008
Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam agreed to enhance cooperation in culture, trade, defense and energy after a meeting between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah here on Tuesday.

In a joint statement, the two leaders said they were happy with the level of bilateral trade, which continues to increase year to year, although Indonesia has seen a trade deficit over the last four years due to Brunei's oil exports to the country.

Last year's bilateral trade stood at US$1.9 billion, up from $1.6 billion in 2006. Indonesia's exports to Brunei in 2007 reached $43.3 million, while its imports stood at $1.8 billion.

Presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said President Yudhoyono had invited Brunei to invest more in Indonesia, particularly in special economic zones on Batam, Bintan and Karimun islands, as well as in labor-intensive infrastructure projects.

"The sultan also invited Indonesia to do more investments in Brunei to benefit both countries," Dino said.

"In the defense sector, the President and the sultan said they were committed to enhancing defense cooperation through the trade in military equipment. The President offered Indonesia's military equipment products."

Dino said the sultan promised Yudhoyono to improve protection for some 39,000 Indonesian migrant workers in Brunei.

The meeting closed with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Indonesia's Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik and Brunei's Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Mohammad H. Daud.

Indonesia and Brunei also discussed cooperation in the energy sector between Indonesian oil company Elnusa and Petroleum Brunei.

On environmental matters, the two leaders committed to improving cooperation under the Heart of Borneo scheme, an initiative to save forested areas that stretch between Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia on Borneo Island.

In the photo, the Brunei sultan (left) and Wiranto, the ex-military chief under former president Soeharto, play a doubles game against former Jakarta governor Sutiyoso and national shuttler Markis Kido at the Cipayung badminton training center in East Jakarta on Tuesday. -- JP/Desy Nurhayati



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