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Merkel signs cooperation agreement with Indonesia
by Staff Writers
Jakarta (AFP) July 10, 2012


German Chancellor Angela Merkel signed an agreement Tuesday for wide-ranging cooperation with Indonesia, saying it would take bilateral ties "to a higher comprehensive level".

Merkel signed the "Jakarta Declaration" with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono shortly after arriving for her first official visit to Southeast Asia's largest economy.

The agreement pledges to strengthen cooperation in security, economy, development, health, education, science and environmental issues.

Speaking at a news conference with Yudhoyono, Merkel said by signing the agreement Indonesia was "enabling us to raise our relationship to a higher comprehensive level, especially to develop our strategic cooperation together".

On Wednesday Merkel, who took office in 2005, is due to visit the site of the country's tsunami early-warning system, which was built with German assistance.

"I believe that we can cooperate more closely in science and research, and the tsunami warning centre is but one example of that," she told reporters.

German government sources have described Indonesia as a comparably stable developing country with robust prospects, but expressed concerns about frequent human rights violations in the resources-rich province of West Papua.

Merkel would discuss issues of regional security such as the fight against piracy in the Strait of Malacca linking the Indian Ocean with the Pacific, German officials said ahead of the visit.

Indonesia said earlier this month it would turn to Germany for a tank deal, after a $280 million bid to buy 100 Leopard battle tanks from the Netherlands fell through, but Merkel said defence issues were not discussed in detail.

Germany's direct foreign investment in Indonesia totaled $159 million last year, when its economy grew at 6.5 percent and attracted a record $20 billion from foreign investors.

Bilateral trade relations have developed briskly in recent years with Germany exporting 3.4 billion euros ($4.2 billion) in goods and services to Indonesia in 2011. Imports from the country were valued at 3.3 billion euros.

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