Vanuatu is considering opening an embassy in Indonesia as the two countries explore ways to strengthen bilateral ties.
Vanuatu Foreign Minister Jotham Napat discussed the plan when he met his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi in Jakarta on Friday, marking the first time in more than a decade for a Vanuatu foreign minister to make a visit to Indonesia.
“I am pleased to hear Vanuatu’s plans to open its embassy in Indonesia,” Retno told reporters shortly after the bilateral meeting.
Indonesia and Vanuatu are drafting an agreement on visa exemption for diplomatic and service passport holders. The two senior diplomats also discussed the possibility of hosting an annual consultation meeting in a bid to bolster bilateral ties.
At the joint presser, Napat thanked Indonesia’s humanitarian assistance to the cyclone-hit Vanuatu.
“I’m grateful to Indonesia for stepping in during difficult times. Recently, we have been bombarded by cyclones. With the generosity of your people, you managed to step in to assist. That would never go unnoticed,” Napat said.
Indonesia last month delivered over $512,820 worth of humanitarian aid comprising staple food, tents, and clothing, among others.
The government has also appointed the state-owned construction firm Pembangunan Perumahan (PP) to renovate the wrecked VIP room of the airport in Port Vila. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPNB) will fund the project.
According to Coordinating Minister for Cultural Affairs Muhadjir Effendy, the renovation is expected to cost from Rp 10 billion (US$668,970) to Rp 14 billion (US$935,000). The VIP room will span between 860 and 1,000 square meters.
“We are still in the planning phase. But I believe we can start [the renovation] this month. We expect to finish it this July,” Muhadjir told reporters in Jakarta.
SOURCE: JAKARTA GLOBE/PACNEWS