Sri Lankan and Indonesian foreign ministers met in Jakarta on Monday and discussed ways to step up efforts in addressing human smuggling issue and boosting bilateral trade, which is targeted to reach one billion U.S. dollars next year.
Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa met with his Sri Lankan counterpart Prof. G.L. Peiris at Marty's office.
The Indonesian minister said Indonesia and Sri Lanka have similar problem related to the issue as the two nations consistently send workers to foreign countries, international media reported.
Marty said both nations are actively working in international forum of Bali Process that addressing the issue.
According to Marty, it takes further cooperation and agreements with other countries which have similar problem such as Bangladesh, the Philippines, India and Australia.
Indonesia has been a stopover for illegal movement of people from South Asia, Middle East countries, which are aiming to enter Australia to seek better life there after they fled from their war- torn countries.
Besides discussing ways to address the human smuggling issue, the two ministers also discussed ways to improve further cooperation in economy, trade, investment, farming, fishing and tourism.
"We agreed to spur this effort so as to boost up this good relationship to an even better condition," Marty said, adding that with all of those improvements, bilateral trade between the two nations is expected to reach one billion U.S. dollars next year.
In his statement conveyed in the event, Minister Peiris said improvement of ties with Indonesia would give significant benefits to Sri Lanka in terms of economy, politics and development of human resources and health services.
Meanwhile, Minister Peiris also called on President-elect of Indonesia Mr. Joko Widodo, , who will be inaugurated as Indonesia’s Head of State on 20th October. Minister Peiris conveyed to President-elect Widodo, the warm felicitations and good wishes of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for a happy and successful tenure of the new Presidency.
During a 40 minute discussion, the President-elect and Minister Peiris assessed the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries, and ways in which it could be developed further in the years ahead.
The President-elect showed interest in the subjects to be discussed at the Joint Commission in Jakarta between Sri Lanka and Indonesia.