JAKARTA: Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Saifuddin extended on Monday the best wishes to Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the Kingdom’s National Day and expressed hope for stronger ties between the two countries.
“On behalf of the Indonesian government, we rejoiced in this celebration and prayed that the Kingdom and the people of Saudi Arabia are always blessed and under God’s protection,” Saifuddin told journalists during a reception at a hotel in Jakarta held by the Saudi Embassy.
The minister, who was the guest of honor at the reception, said the two countries have ties that Islamic scholars cemented centuries ago and that they remain the same today.
Saudi Arabia is still one of the major sources of foreign tourists to Indonesia, and the biggest from the Middle East, with 165,852 Saudis visiting Indonesia in 2018.
“We hope to see more of our brothers and sisters from Saudi Arabia visiting Indonesia in the coming years,” Saifuddin said.
Trade between the two countries increased from $4.5 billion (SR16.8 billion) in 2017 to $6.13 billion in 2018. Saudi Arabia is one of Indonesia’s most important partners in the investment sector, with investment value increasing from $3.5 million in 2017 to $5.36 million last year.
“The government of Indonesia wishes to cooperate more to ensure intensification of Saudi direct investments in the country,” Saifuddin said.
Saudi Ambassador Esam Abid Althagafi said that the Kingdom continues development in all sectors in line with the 2030 Vision reform plans, which has shown significant results among developing countries.
Indonesian actor Dude Herlino and his actress wife Alyssa Soebandono were also among the guests attending the reception. Herlino was one of the guests invited by the Saudi Ministry of Media to perform Hajj this year.
He told Arab News that it was a memorable experience and he was grateful for the privilege.
“I was extended the best service, including the opportunity for a helicopter ride above Makkah,” Herlino said.
“We would like to congratulate the Kingdom for its national day celebration and I hope that Indonesia and Saudi Arabia’s bilateral relations will remain strong,” he added.