Thu, 04 May 2000

Middle Eastern countries 'committed to helping Indonesia'

JAKARTA (JP): A number of Middle Eastern countries have given commitments to help Indonesia's economic recovery and are ready to invest in the country, Minister of Foreign Affairs Alwi Shihab said on Wednesday.

He said Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman had made concrete plans for new investments in the oil, petrochemical and fishery sectors.

"The government of Kuwait, for example, says it will inject some US$30 million for an oil and gas exploration project on Seram island in Maluku," Alwi was quoted by Antara news agency as saying after a meeting between President Abdurrahman Wahid and ministers from the three Arab countries.

Kuwait Minister of Foreign Affairs Sulemen Al-Shaheen, Oman Minister of Trade and Industry Maqbool Ali Sultan and Saudi Arabia Minister of Industry and Electricity Hashim Yamani met with the President in separate sessions. They are in Jakarta to attend the Ministers Meeting on Investment in Indonesia, jointly held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and state investment bank Danareksa.

Alwi said the government of Kuwait had committed to gradually increase its investment in the three-year oil and gas project on Seram island to $170 million.

He said Kuwait also planned to invest in other feasible projects.

Saudi Arabia says it will find investment opportunities in the oil and petrochemical sectors, while Oman is eying the fishery and oil field sectors, he added.

Delegations of ministers, fund managers and businesspeople from Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia, are currently in the capital attending a meeting on investment opportunities in the country.

At the meeting, the government, through the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA), is offering delegates the opportunity to purchase assets and companies currently under IBRA's supervision, including such assets of the Salim Group as Wisma BCA, a mosquito coil factory, retail chain Indo Marco, a palm oil plantation, Bintan Resort, a sugar refinery, a coal mine plant and private television station Indosiar.

The delegates are also being invited to invest in PT Aneka Tambang, PT Bukit Asam Batubara, PT Perkebunan Nusantara IV, PT Gajah Tunggal Tire, PT Indosat, PT Jasa Marga, PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines, PT Angkasa Pura and PT Pelabuhan Indonesia II, which are on the government's list for immediate privatization. (cst)