Mon, 17 Oct 1994

Rafsanjani asks Indonesia to buy more Iranian oil

JAKARTA (JP): Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Saturday called on Indonesia to buy more oil from his country while at the same time hinting that Iran may purchase helicopters from the IPTN state-aircraft manufacturer.

Following a farewell meeting between President Soeharto and Rafsanjani at Merdeka Palace, Minister/State Secretary Moerdiono told journalists that the Iranian president's call for increased oil purchases is aimed at accenting bilateral trade.

It is not because Iran has difficulty marketing its oil, Moerdiono said.

Indonesia imports an average of 30,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Iran.

Despite being an oil producing nation itself, the vast demands of industrialization are expected to make Indonesia a net-oil importer by the first decade of the next century.

Meanwhile, Rafsanjani, when confronted by questions on the possible acquisition of Indonesian made helicopters, gave an indefinite hope in his answer.

"If we study that they are useful then there shall be further purchases to be done," said the Iranian president who a day earlier had visited the IPTN factory in Bandung.

Last year Iran bought seven Indonesian-made Super Puma helicopters.

"We have designated quite clear areas for cooperation between the two countries and we do hope that after this visit we will witness more activity and motivation," Rafsanjani said.

Rafsanjani left Jakarta on Saturday after a three-day visit with an entourage of 127 people which included his wife, daughter, four cabinet ministers and 35 security personnel.

During his brief stay here, Rafsanjani engaged in extensive talks aimed at improving political and economic ties.

Coming out of a closed meeting with Rafsanjani on Friday, Soeharto instructed his ministers to form a special group aimed at realizing investment and trade opportunities with Iran as a gateway to the Central Asian market.


Though the visit mainly focused on economics, Rafsanjani and Soeharto released a joint statement Saturday filled with politically oriented issues.

They expressed deep concern over the deplorable situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and called for an immediate restoration of its political integrity.

"(Indonesia and Iran) call on the United Nations Security Council to take appropriate action, including lifting of the unjustified arms embargo against Bosnia-Herzegovina."

Reviewing developments in the Middle East, the joint statement also lamented the situation and stressed that stability in that region would not be successful without fully restoring the Palestinian's rights.

Commenting on the declining price of oil on the world market, Rafsanjani said that Indonesia and Iran, as members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), should collaborate further to stop the price slide.

He said that at the OPEC Ministerial Meeting in Bali next month, the organization must not agree to any unnecessary increase in oil production in order to help boost market prices.

Before departing for Brunei, Rafsanjani met with the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) headed by KH Hasan Basri.

The hour-long meeting with Hasan Basri, who was accompanied by 19 ulemas, focused on several issues including the challenges facing the Islamic world in Bosnia and Kashmir.

Rafsanjani is due to arrive in Kuala Lumpur today for the final leg of his three-nation tour.(mds)