On behalf of the people of the Republic of Malta I wish to take this opportunity to extend my warmest congratulations to the People of the Republic of Indonesia in celebrating Independence Day. This is indeed a special occasion commemorating the 75th anniversary of Indonesia’s Proclamation of Independence, on 17 August 1945.

I would like to commend the Government of the Republic of Indonesia for the theme chosen to celebrate this anniversary, ‘Advanced Indonesia’, reflecting not only the many accomplishments your great nation has achieved over the past 75 years, but also putting a focus on the aspirations and objectives in the years to come, in areas such as infrastructure development, human resource development, job creation, and empowerment of micro, small and medium enterprises.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations on 1 December 1979, our two countries have maintained excellent ties and close cooperation, particularly in multilateral settings, not only through mutual support on candidatures in UN fora but also through Malta’s active participation in the AIS, the Archipelagic and Island States Forum, an important Indonesian initiative. Being an archipelago itself, and a firm supporter of multilateralism, Malta fully supports the work of the AIS Forum and its ongoing work on the four pillars agreed in the Manado Declaration in 2018. Islands and archipelagic states should speak with one voice at the international level and strengthen their collaboration to leverage their collective influence.

On a regional level Malta also actively encourages further active engagement and collaboration between the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). With its membership of the European Union, Malta is playing a key role in strengthening the Mediterranean component to the European Union’s decision-making process. For its part, Indonesia is an active member of ASEAN, and similarly contributes to the decision-making process of this important regional grouping, fostering economic and political integration in the Asian region. Malta, like Indonesia is also a member of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and firmly identifies itself with ASEM’s overarching goal of encouraging further people-to-people contact and interaction between politicians, businesses, and academics.

In advancing, there is still much more we can do to strengthen bilateral cooperation between our two Peoples. Having celebrated last year, the 40th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic relations, now is the right time to find ways to increase bilateral cooperation in a number of different areas, such as through trade and investment, maritime cooperation, education, as well as culture. Despite the geographical distance, there is indeed much we have in common, and thus there is ample room where new possible areas of cooperation could be explored for the benefit of the two Peoples.

Thank you.