Indonesia prioritises assistance for conflict-torn countries

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Indonesia is planning to provide various kinds of technical assistance to Afghanistan, Myanmar and Palestine as part of its pledge to push for stability in those conflict-torn countries.

The technical assistance can take the form of training, internships, seminars or workshops and scholarships, the Foreign Ministry’s director for technical cooperation Mohammad Syarif Alatas said on Thursday.

For Afghanistan, Syarif said the asistance would be as technical help to rebuild houses and highways that have been destroyed in a prolonged war.

Indonesia’s assistance to Myanmar would focus on community, women and youth empowerment, he added.

Meanwhile, Indonesia would help Palestine in the development of micro finance and micro, small and medium enterprises.

Syarif added that Indonesia planned to build a water desalination facility in Gaza to provide the citizens with tapwater.

“Those assistance programs are among 13 capacity-building programs set to be carried out this year,” Syarif said.

Indonesia also has plans to assist in human resource empowerment in several countries in the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, he added.

“However, I cannot specify the countries yet as these programs are currently still being discussed,” he said. “We expect to start some of the programs in February.”

The priorities, Syarif said, were decided following the ministry’s annual planning process, which was based on bilateral agreements and President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s commitment to enhance cooperation with those conflict-torn countries.

“There were considerations that we have discussed with other ministries,” he said. “We also considered [the priorities] based on the commitments made by the head of the state. Also taken into account were the needs of the recipient countries as reported by our diplomatic missions there.”

Since 2017, Jokowi has been stepping up Indonesia’s geopolitical influence by, among other things, pledging support to rebuild Afghanistan, providing aid to Rohingya refugees in Myanmar and Bangladesh and reaffirming support for Palestine by appointing an honorary consul in Ramallah.

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi emphasized on Tuesday during her annual press statement that Indonesia would increase its assistance by establishing the Indonesian Aid agency.

The measures, she said, were taken as part of Indonesia’s contribution to world peace.

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