Indonesian president coming for Jeddah visit

Indonesian president coming for Jeddah visit
Updated 30 January 2013

Indonesian president coming for Jeddah visit

Indonesian president coming for Jeddah visit

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will arrive in Jeddah on Sunday in a renewed move to boost relations between the two countries. A special plane carrying the Indonesian president and his 100-member strong entourage, including several ministers, high-ranking officials and media men, is scheduled to land in Jeddah on Feb. 3 and stay for two days before heading for Cairo on Feb 5.
This was disclosed by Indonesian Ambassador Gatot Abdullah Mansyur here yesterday. President Yudhoyono will address a high-profile meeting of Saudi and Indonesian businessmen at the Hilton Hotel in Jeddah on Monday, said Ambassador Mansyur. He pointed out that “the Indonesian president will also perform Umrah with his wife, First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, and will interact with community members during his stay in Jeddah and Makkah.
Asked about reports of the signing of an agreement to lift the ban on the deployment of housemaids in Saudi Arabia, the ambassador said that “this is not on the agenda; a memorandum of understanding (MoU) about the recruitment of maids has already been drafted and it is being discussed by the two sides.” He said that there was no plan to sign any agreement now to end the freeze on the recruitment of Indonesian maids that has been in place since early 2011.
The ban followed an Indonesian maid’s beheading after she was convicted of murdering her Saudi employer. According to a report published in a section of the Arabic press, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia have reached a deal after tough negotiations over the past year about maids’ salaries and treatment, along with other conditions set by Indonesia. There is also a likelihood of this deal being signed in near future.
The Kingdom has reportedly agreed to pay Indonesian maids a monthly salary of between SR1,200 and SR1,500 Saudi riyals. To this end, Ambassador Mansyur clarified that the Indonesia president would only address the business meeting, meet with leaders of the private sector and speak to the Indonesian community.
“But I am not aware of any signing or announcement of any agreement,” he said, while sharing information about the progress of talks in this regard during the last few months.
He pointed out that President Yudhoyono is scheduled to tour three African countries and Saudi Arabia during this trip. The president is scheduled to kick off his nine-day tour with a visit to Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, to attend a UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which is a follow-up to two similar meetings in New York in September and London in November of last year.
“In fact, President Yudhoyono is making his first foreign trip of 2013 by visiting three African countries and Saudi Arabia,” said a presidential spokesman for foreign affairs Teuku Faizasyah in a statement obtained by Arab News.
“The president’s visits to the African and Middle East countries are a combination of a bilateral and multilateral diplomatic agenda,” Faizasyah added. He pointed out that the Indonesian president will also attend the 12th Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Cairo on Feb. 6.
Indonesia, which currently also prohibits migrant workers from being sent to Jordan, is the Middle East’s largest market for Asian domestic helpers. Over 5,000 cases of physical and sexual abuse among foreign workers in Saudi Arabia were reported in 2010 by Migrant Care, an NGO working in this field. Despite the ban on Saudi recruitment of domestic workers, 1.5 million Indonesians are still employed in the Kingdom. A huge number of maids from Indonesia are still working in Saudi Arabia.