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(Jan 29, 2014) On January 23, 2014, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia signed their first agreement on cooperation in defense matters. It was signed by Indonesia's Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, a retired Lieutenant General from the Defense Ministry, and the Saudi Deputy Defense Minister, Prince Salman bin Sultan Abdul Aziz Al Saud. The pact has provisions on military training and education, anti-terrorism work, and the defense industry in Indonesia. Sjamsoeddin noted that although the two countries have had diplomatic relations since 1950, it was the first time a deputy defense minister from Saudi Arabia had visited Indonesia. The agreement is the first of its kind that Indonesia has concluded with any Middle Eastern nation. (Novan Iman Santosa, Saudi Arabia, RI Ink Defense Cooperation Agreement, THE JAKARTA POST (Jan. 24, 2014).)

During the talks, the two men discussed terrorism, agreeing that it is a global problem but not linked to any one ideology. Sjamsoeddin stated, "[n]o religion in the world teaches violence." (Id.) Both nations have been affected by terrorist attacks. They have agreed to hold joint exercises of the two countries' special forces, to increase their capacity to counter terrorism. (Ankit Panda, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia Sign Defense Cooperation Agreement, THE DIPLOMAT (Jan. 25, 2014).)

Another aspect of the Saudi Deputy Minister's visit was inspection of Indonesia's defense equipment industry, to assess whether to award it Saudi contracts for hardware and see whether the industry could modify its products to suit Saudi needs. Among the equipment he inspected were various firearms, armored personnel carriers, and helicopters. (Santosa, supra.) A similar defense agreement was reached between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan on January 21; that agreement may lead to the Saudi purchase of JF-17 fighter jets, developed jointly by China and Pakistan. (Panda, supra.)

In addition to building a mosque in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia will be donating a language lab to teach Arabic to Indonesian soldiers who will be deployed in Lebanon under United Nations auspices. The lab will be located at the Indonesian Peace and Security Center, in Sentul, located in West Java province. (Santosa, supra.)

Author: Constance Johnson More by this author
Topic: International affairs More on this topic
 Terrorism More on this topic
 Treaties and International Agreements/Terrorism More on this topic
 Treaties and International Agreements/Weapons More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Indonesia More about this jurisdiction
 Saudi Arabia More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 01/29/2014