BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, October 6, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, received the Republic of Indonesia’s Ambassador to St. Kitts and Nevis, His Excellency Priyo Iswanto, at his office at Government Headquarters on Thursday, October 6, 2017.
Prime Minister Harris’ meeting with Ambassador Iswanto came just over a week after the Foreign Minister, the Honourable Mark Brantley, on behalf of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, signed a reciprocal Waiver of Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic and Service/Official passports with Her Excellency Retno Marsudi, Foreign Minister of Indonesia.
This Agreement builds on the unilateral decision by the Government of Indonesia to exempt holders of ordinary passports of St. Kitts and Nevis, through Indonesia’s Presidential Decree in 2016. Therefore, all nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis can travel without hassle to the Republic of Indonesia for leisure and for cultural exchange.
During the discussions held on Thursday, Prime Minister Harris apprised the Indonesian Ambassador of the situation St. Kitts and Nevis now faces as a result of the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.
“Some of what we do and we experience, certain vulnerabilities as a result of climate change, your country though very large in the context of our own small state, has far greater resources and we hope that through the strengthening of our relationship we will not just be passive but we will have an active bond of relationship that drives cooperation in many areas,” Dr. Harris said.
Ambassador Iswanto said the Government of the Republic of Indonesia is presently assessing the situation in the Caribbean and will make a determination with regards to providing assistance to St. Kitts and Nevis and other neighbouring islands.
His Excellency Iswanto also extended an invitation to the St. Kitts and Nevis Government to participate in two separate events in the Republic of Indonesia.
“Indonesia, together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) would like to set up what we call an Archipelagic and Island States Forum where we can cooperate to get concrete results and where we can also cooperate together to exchange…best practices and know-how and many things related to ocean issues because we face similar challenges,” the visiting ambassador stated.
The second event Ambassador Iswanto invited St. Kitts and Nevis to participate in relates to a training programme in Disaster Management. Both events are scheduled to take place in 2018.
The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis officially established diplomatic relations with Indonesia in 2014, and has since benefitted from this relationship, particularly in the area of cultural development. In May, 2017, Indonesia hosted a Batik making skills workshop for over 60 nationals in both St. Kitts and Nevis.
His Excellency Priyo Iswanto will be among a large contingent of foreign dignitaries that will participate in St. Kitts and Nevis’ 34th Anniversary of Independence commemorative activities on Saturday, October 7, including the Independence Day Parade at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium and the ensuing Toast to the Nation at the Defence Force Headquarters at Camp Springfield.