Indonesia, France sign strategic partnership

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Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and visiting French Prime Minister Francois Fillon agreed Friday to establish a strategic partnership to boost cooperation between the two nations.

"Indonesia has become a great emerging country...which takes great responsibilities on the world stage," Fillon said, as the leaders attended the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on energy, tourism, education, culture, and transport infrastructure development.

"Indonesia will be one of the main actors of the 21st century with an exceptional economic growth which could be the fastest in the world in the next ten years," Fillon added.

President Yudhoyono said he hoped that this visit, the first from a French Prime Minister in 61 years, will bring "new momentum" and increase cooperation between both countries.

"I invited French investors to seek new opportunity in Indonesia for the mutual interest," Yudhoyono said, adding that joint trade was $2.5 billion in 2010, with France ranked 13th among foreign investors.

Investment Coordinating Board chairman Gita Wirjawan said earlier on Friday that French companies were interested in investing in a $2 billion geothermal power project in Indonesia.

"I hope we can reach an agreement on geothermal this year. We have to discuss further. It could be on Sumatra, Java or Bali islands," he told reporters after meeting French businessmen who accompanied the Premier.


© 2011 AFP

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