Afghan president to visit Indonesia in early April

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is scheduled to visit Indonesia on April 5-6 to strengthen cooperation in the peace building process as well as in development and economy.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director for South and Central Asian Affairs Ferdy Piay stated here on Thursday that the main purpose of the Afghan presidents visit to Indonesia is to gain a better understanding of the de-radicalization process through the spread of moderate Islam to support the peace building efforts in the conflict-torn country.

“Terrorism and radicalism have been major problems in Afghanistan, and they want to solve the issue at the grassroots level by spreading moderate Islamic values. This is Indonesias strength that they want to learn,” he noted.

According to Piay, Indonesias National Counterterrorism Agency has outlined a cooperation framework for carrying out de-radicalization efforts that include holding dialog and strengthening the role of ulemas.

President Ahmadzai, who is scheduled to meet President Joko Widodo on the first day of his visit, expects to gain an insight into the best practices followed in Indonesia in terms of peace building and reconciliation efforts to help resolve the long-term conflict in his country.

During his first visit to Jakarta and Southeast Asia, President Ahmadzai and his delegations will also discuss ways to improve trade cooperation between Indonesian and Afghan businessmen.

The total trade value between Indonesia and Afghanistan is actually small, at only US$16 million in 2016.

As a landlocked country, Afghanistan faces a challenge of importing commodities and consumer goods. Hence, Indonesia must also rely on other countries, such as Pakistan and Iran, to export its products to Afghanistan.

Afghan business delegations and their Indonesian counterparts will attempt to push for direct interactions during the meeting since the main challenge for the two countries trade relations is banking transactions.

“Although Afghanistan is not included as a blacklisted country, several of its entities are. That is why we find it difficult to export our products directly to Afghanistan,” Piay remarked.

On the second day of his state visit, President Ahmadzai also plans to hold a discussion with Indonesian ulemas from Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah at the Istiqlal Mosque.

Indonesia has been supporting Afghanistan through 47 programs to strengthen institutions and build the capacity of its human resources.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry and Nahdlatul Ulama have also cooperated to build an Indonesian Islamic Center in Kabul, which includes a mosque, medical clinic, library, and gathering place.

“Initiated in 2010, the mosque has been operating since the end of 2016. Currently, we are planning to continue the phase two of construction for building a medical clinic that will focus on the health of mothers and children,” Piay added.

Source: Antara News