Mon, 15 Aug 1994

RI raises diplomatic ties with South Africa

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia has raised its diplomatic ties with South Africa to a full ambassadorial level although both counties have yet to appoint their respective official ambassadors.

A joint communique on the issue was signed on Friday by the chief representatives of Indonesia and South Africa at the United Nations, Nugroho Wisnumurti and Vernon R.W. Steward respectively, the Antara news agency reported from New York.

The communique said that the opening of diplomatic ties was based on the wishes of the two countries to strengthen their friendly ties and bilateral cooperation, mutual respect for the other's sovereignty, independence and integrity and non- interference in the other's domestic affairs.

Indonesia has already opened a consulate in South Africa chiefly to look after the interests of entrepreneurs from both countries as both countries are resolved to promote economic and trade ties.

Steward after the signing ceremony said that despite the distance between the two countries, he is confident that economic ties could be enhanced particularly given Indonesia's rapid economic development.

South Africa also intends to play an active role in the Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) which it joined recently after its first ever non-racial elections, he said.

The movement, currently chaired by Indonesia, was at the forefront in the international campaign to end the apartheid political system in South Africa, and has supported the struggle of the African National Congress (ANC), the faction of the newly elected president Nelson Mandela.

Steward said that it may be sometime before South Africa appoints a full ambassador for its mission in Indonesia given that the nation is now preoccupied with the reconstruction of the nation. South Africa may instead appoint a non-resident ambassador as its representative in Indonesia, he added. (emb)