Wednesday, March 17, 2010 15:09 WIB | National ANTARA
Ambon (ANTARA News) – The government of Maluku province will improve the local people`s welfare by optimally exploiting cooperation between Indonesia and Southwest Pacific countries.
“We are going to optimally make use of the cooperative relations between Indonesian and Southwest Pacific countries to improve the welfare of our people in the province,” Maluku Governor Karel Albert Ralahalu said here on Wednesday.
The governor, who has just returned from Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) to accompany President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the visit to the two countries, said the cooperative relations between Indonesia and the Southwest Pacific countries such as New Zealand, Australia, PNG, and Timor Leste were important and strategic for the development of Maluku province in the future.
Ralahalu said President Yudhoyono found it important to step up cooperative relations with countries in the Southwest Pacific region because they were potential for development in Indonesia in general and in Maluku in particular.
“Maluku and five other East Indonesian provinces of West Papua, Papua, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), and Bali will optimally exploit various cooperation opportunities following President Yudhoyono`s visit to Australia and PNG in the company of the governors from these provinces,” Ralahalu said.
President Yudhoyono in his visit to the two countries last week was accompanied by Governors Ralahalu of Maluku, Barnabas Suebu of Papua, Abraham Ataruri of West Papua, Frans Lebu Raya of East Nusa Tenggara, Muhammad Zainul Majdi of West Nusa Tenggara, and I Made Mangku Pastika of Bali.
Ralahalu said that during the visit, President Yudhoyono had signed a number of agreements with Australia and PNG.
The agreements were among others on illegal fishing, human trafficking, boarder encroachment, long term investment, and the reduction of gas emission in Indonesia for which Australia has allocated US$70 million in funds.
“Australia has agreed to do many things in economic cooperation with Indonesia, especially for the development and the welfare of the people in the Eastern Indonesian provinces,” Ralahalu said.