HE The Ambassador Of Indonesia To YT :I want to build our relationship [Archives:2005/835/Community]

April 21 2005

Imad Al-Saqqaf
Having only served as Ambassador to Yemen for less than one year, HE Kemas Fachruddin, has been made strenuous efforts to improve the relationship between Yemen and Indonesia. He has visited the majority of import provinces in Yemen and met with the communities. He has organized many activities throughout this year, one of which is the dancing and food festival that will take place in many provinces.

He says that Yemen has many remarkable businessmen, such as the Hayel Saeed Anam group of companies and appreciates Yemeni Media represented by Mr. Emad Al-Saqqaf, al-Osra, development Arabic language magazine editor-in-chief and Yemen Time Taiz Bureau Chief, who had also the privilege of interviewing HE, the Indonesian Ambassador.

Q: What brought you here?

A: This my third visit to Taiz province. This time it is an official visit. The purpose of my visit is to introduce myself to the officials here. Secondly, it is to have a discussion with the officials of this province on how to improve our relationship regarding economy and trade between our two countries.

Q: Why only Taiz?

A: I have been to Mukalla, Aden, and Hodeidah and have met with the governors of those provinces and chambers of commerce too. Here I met the vice governor. The purpose of the visits to all these provinces is to improve our relationship.

Q: How long have you been in Yemen?

A: Less than one year.

Q: How do you evaluate the economic relationship between Yemen and Indonesia?

A: The relationship is good. We both have the potential to develop it more. The main question is how to improve it.

Q: Do you wish to invest in Yemen?

A: So far we have tried to distribute some Indonesian products here, so that they are available on the Yemeni market. There is a requirement from the government and the community, especially from the chamber of commerce to ask Indonesian investors to come here and invest. They want our investors to invest in the Aden Free zone. They are like brothers, they have the same religion and so many Yemenis live in Indonesia. Our relationship was established long time ago but I mean to improve our relationship even more, we have to create the atmosphere of business and then convince our investors to come here.

Q: Are there any Yemeni products in your market?

A: We are a member of OPEC , but we still need to import. We import fish, honey and oil from Yemen.

Q: You rarely find Indonesian products in Yemeni markets. However, we find some of your neighboring countries invest here. Why is this?

A: This is why I am meeting with everybody here. I talked to them on how to improve this. This is why I talked with the chamber of commerce 'please, lets work together.' It is still difficult to convince our investors to do it but I will do my best.

Q: Is it something related to the quality of your products?

A: In comparison to the Chinese products, ours are better but some people tend to buy the cheaper products over quality products.

Q: Media can play a good role in this course. It's role is still weak, isn't it?

A: Yes, this is a good idea. Not only in the field of economy and trade, but also in the cultural field. Yes, as media people, you need to go to Jakarta and see for yourself what's going on there. Once you come back, you could write about it, and vice versa. Insha'Allah, we will implement it this year.

Q: How has our bilateral relationship been improving?

A: Officially, we have been doing lots of efforts to develop this. We have six million Yemenis in Indonesia. I used to talk to officials here (look, you can find a Yemeni everywhere in Indonesia), we can't rely on that only but we have to feel this in the form of activity. We have joint commissions. This is an umbrella for us to talk on matters that can be discussed and developed. It works like this in all Arab countries. Your president, as the foreign Minister al-Qirbi told me, will be going to Jakarta soon. He won't only attend the commemoration held there (the Asia and Africa conference), but he would also like to strengthen our relationship personally with our new president.

Q: Can we develop our folklore culture even more?

A: To answer this specific question, I want to tell you that I talked to your vice governor. Along with my staff, we are arranging a dancing and food festivals here this year in Yemen. We are organizing them in many Yemeni provinces. It is good that you ask this question, which means you have something in mind

Q: What roles do Indonesian women share in public life there?

A: We try, like here, to empower women to join everything. We have ministers, teachers, judges, parliamentarians and doctors. The only thing that an Indonesian women can't do is become an Imam. In short there is no limitation to Indonesian women's lives in this respect.

Q: Does it ever happen that a Yemeni man marries an Indonesian lady?

A: Why not! You are most welcome. First, come to Jakarta and see people there, see your brothers and enjoy splendid landscapes, enjoy paradise there.

Q: Is tourism in your country a major contributor to national income?

A: Very much so, tourism is one of the most important sources of our income. As a matter of fact, we are islands and our problem is that we need capital to do this. However, everywhere you go you are surrounded with greenery. The weather is cool, pleasant and very fresh. We have mountains covered by tea plantations. We have visitors from all over the Arab world.

Q: Are you keen on learning the Arabic language?

A: We are a Muslim country. I discussed this with the vice governor. We participate in Qur'an competitions. Our youngsters come to your universities to learn. Eight hundred Indonesian students learn religion here in many province. Anyhow, Arabic is not an easy language, it is quite difficult. And in Indonesia we do not study Arabic in primary school. Some study it later on though. We may need your support on this.

Q: Have you visited the Hayel Saeed Anam group of companies?

A: I know these courteous people. They are charitable, kind and obliging. I have been to Sabr Mountain in the company of Abdul-Wasea Saeed Anam, and saw for myself how he gave charity to every person he met on the road.

Q: Do they a play role in helping your people?

A: Yes, these companies are present there. Recently, they have built houses for needy people, especially those who suffered from the tsunami. I do appreciate this family and wish them even more success.

Q: Any last message?

A: I hope that Yemen will be a stable country – politically, economically, and security. Then, I hope that the relationship between the two countries will develop even more. We have everything in common. I hope, as an ambassador, to see lots of improvements in our relationship.