Saudi Arabia and Indonesia Wednesday signed agreements in areas ranging from trade to aviation as King Salman bin Abdulaziz visited the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.
King Salman and President Widodo of Indonesia oversaw the signing of 11 cooperation agreements following Wednesday’s talks at the Bogor palace. The agreements included a Saudi commitment to provide $1 billion of financing for economic development and cooperation to combat transnational crime such as people smuggling, terrorism and drug trafficking.
Apart from trade and aviation, they included agreements on boosting cooperation in science, health and fighting crime. Jakarta and Riyadh also inked an agreement that builds on an existing $6 billion deal between state-owned energy firms Aramco and Pertamina to expand an Indonesian oil refinery.
On Thursday the King is due to give a speech to parliament and visit a major Jakarta mosque. He is also due to meet leaders of some of Indonesia’s major Muslim organizations during the trip. President Widodo hailed King Salman’s visit as “historic” and said he hoped it could lead to closer economic ties.
“As the country with the biggest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia will always have a special bond with Saudi Arabia,” he told the King at the palace.
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Earlier, King Salman was received at Halim International Airport by President Joko Widodo, Foreign Minister Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, Minister of Religious Affairs Lukman Hakim Saifuddin and a number of officials.
Crowds of flag-waving schoolchildren lined the route as a convoy of vehicles carrying the King and his entourage sped through pouring rain to a presidential palace in the nearby city of Bogor where a band played the two countries’ national anthems.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on March 3, 2016.