Asia Business Channel: What would you say is the importance given to Indonesia in regards to Russia’s priorities in terms of foreign policy?
H.E Mrs. Lyudmila Georgievna Vorobieva: Asia Pacific is a very important region for Russia. Russian territory goes all the way to the edge of Asia. The region has been a priority of our foreign policy for a very long time. Indonesia being the largest country in the region and being the largest Muslim country in the region make it essential to us. I find the awareness in Indonesia of Russia pretty strong compared to other places in Asia.
Asia Business Channel: Strengthening the relations has been a priority since Foreign Minister S. Lavrov came to Indonesia last year. Where do we stand today?
H.E Mrs. Lyudmila Georgievna Vorobieva: We’re on the way of raising our relations to a new level that would be similar to a strategic partnership. A declaration may soon be adopted by our leaders to define our new relationship within a framework. We need to reinforce our cooperation in many areas. We have an active dialogue. President Jokowi came to Russia several times and bilateral discussions are strong and active between our both countries.
Asia Business Channel: Talking about trade, there was a major increase in recent years. Could you tell us a bit more about the volume of trade?
H.E Mrs. Lyudmila Georgievna Vorobieva: Last year we saw an increase in trade of 25% reaching 3.3 billion USD based on our Russian data. When our leaders met last year in Sochi, the set goal was to reach 5 billion USD in exchanges in the coming years. The trade balance is in favor of Indonesia with spare parts, automobile, electronics and palm oil accounting for the bulk. In return we export fertilizers, agricultural products, textile, machinery and equipment including military equipment. We have a joint commission for cooperation covering all areas.
Asia Business Channel: What is the level of Russian investments?
H.E Mrs. Lyudmila Georgievna Vorobieva: We are engaged in several important projects. We have a transport infrastructure project in East Kalimantan for oil transportation. There is a project to distribute our Kamas trucks. We have a project with Rosneft who will build an oil refinery in East Java. We are ready to provide all necessary expertise in building a nuclear plant if the Indonesian Government chooses that type of energy. Our safety policies and procedures are very high and since Chernobyl the progress has been tremendous. There has not been any incident over the last 30 years. Nuclear energy can also be used for medicine and agriculture among other things.
In telecommunications, we are ready to cooperate in building and launching satellites.
Asia Business Channel: What is the agenda of the events involving both countries in 2018?
H.E Mrs. Lyudmila Georgievna Vorobieva: There will be the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum at the end of May which is similar to Davos. There will also be the Far East Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September. Those events will be the perfect opportunity for Indonesian businessmen to build connections with their Russian counterparts.