JAKARTA – Indonesia and Qatar signed on Wednesday several agreements to expand area of cooperation as the country is reeling under multiple sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
Memoranda were signed at the beginning of the official visit of the Qatari Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to Indonesia, the first that was carried out by the Qatari sheikh to the country with the largest Muslim population in the world.
One of the agreements signed at the presidential palace in Bogor, south of Jakarta, calls for the setting up of a joint commission to develop bilateral cooperation in areas including politics, economy, culture, tourism, technology, industry and agriculture.
An air services agreement was also signed between the two countries along with the memoranda of understanding in health, education and sports.
The Qatari Emir and the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, had a closed-door meeting after which both leaders planted a tree in the garden of the Bogor presidential palace to symbolize good relations between the two nations.
A business delegation from Qatar is accompanying the Emir and is scheduled to participate in a forum to promote commercial and economic ties in the energy, investment, health, sports and commercial aviation sectors.
According to official data, in 2016, bilateral trade reached $900 million, a decline compared to last year when trade was valued at $1.4 billion, due to the falling price of crude oil.
Trade of oil and gas between the two countries amounts to 80 percent of the total value.
The Qatari Emir had visited Malaysia and Singapore as part of his Southeast Asia tour before concluding the trip in Jakarta.
Indonesia has the largest Muslim community in the world, forming 88 percent of the country’s 260 million population.