RI safe for foreign investment: VP

Washington (Antara News) - Vice President Jusuf Kalla said Indonesia was a very safe place to invest in and intent on respecting all trade contracts that had been and would be concluded with foreign investors.

"Our security situation is guaranteed. All our troops remained in their barracks which mean there is no more conflict or war," the Vice President said at a dinner with his delegation members and noted figures at the Indonesian Embassy`s Guest House here Sunday night (Monday morning in Indonesia).

The dinner was also attended by Trade Minister Marie Elka Pangestu, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Investment Coordinating Board Chairman M Lutfi, Indonesian Chamber of Commernce and Industry (Kadin) chairman M.S. Hidayat, legislators Didik J Rachbini and Agusman Effendy, Businessman Sofyan Wanandi and Indonesian Ambassador to the United States Sudjadnan Parnohadinighrat.

The vice president said Indonesia was so secure that when Israel attacked Lebanon, it promptly declared its readiness to send a peacekeeping force to Lebanon.

"Even before the United Nations made any decision, the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) had painted their tanks white. It was ready to take part in the peacekeeping operations in another country," he said illustrating security conditions at home.

Kalla made the remarks to stress the importance of providing security guarantee for foreign investors, particularly those coming from the United States.

Previously, businessman Sofyan Wanandi said that American people were very concerned about security matters.

"To Americans, the most important thing is security. They even tend to be paranoid about security threats. Because they were very concerned they did not hestitate to bombard a county which they thought had the ability to attack them," Wanandi said.

Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo said meanwhile the Indonesian government would respect business contracts it had concluded with foreign investors, and would not arbitrarily take unilateral decision to end a contract.

"The Vice President will stress this matter when he meets with major US companies such as Exxon, Chevron, Halliburton, General Electrics, Newmont and Freeport McMoran," the minister added.

He said generally oil and gas contracts were valid for 20 to 30 years. In the period since the signing and implementation of the contracts, there would be changes and developments. But the validity of the contracts would be respected.

Purnomo said contracts could be terminated only in four cases, namely when the contract had expired, when both sides agreed to terminate a contract, a breach of contact by any of the concerned parties and the occurrence of a crime.

On the occasion, Vice President Jusuf Kalla also spoke about the importance of having optimism in carrying out development, saying the nation`s dignity would be determined by the country`s economic condition.

He said at international forums such as ASEAN, APEC or NAM, the economic parameters of a country were always mentioned such as income per capita, trade surplus and monetary polices a country was pursuing.

Kadin chairman Hidayat said it was now time for the foreign ministry to judge the success of Indonesian ambassadors by economic parameters, not only by political ones.

"Ambassadors must also be successful in penetrating global markets and increasing the country`s trade volume," he said.

On the occasion, Ambassador Sudjadnan in his report said US investors had a strong commitment to sin capital in Indonesia.

At present about 300 US companies were doing business in Indonesia with a total investment of US$12 billion, he said.(*)
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