Jakarta-wapresri.go.id. Vice President (VP) Jusuf Kalla received the Ambassador of the Republic of France, H.E. Mr. Jean-Charles Berthonnet, in the Office of the Vice President, on Jalan Merdeka Utara, Jakarta on Tuesday (Jan. 17).

It was a courtesy visit by Ambassador Berthonnet as a new ambassador to the Vice President, replacing Corinne Breuzé. Previously, Mr. Berthonnet had handed over Credential Letters to President Jokowi last week.

In the meeting, Ambassador Berthonnet told the Vice President a plan of visit by Foreign Minister of France Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault to Indonesia on February 28, 2017 and a farewell visit by French President Francois Hollande to Indonesia and several countries in southeast Asia in late March 2017.

According to Mr. Berthonnet, issues around economic cooperation will be the core topic of President Hollande’s visit, including projects of renewable energy, transportation, weapons equipment, and an increase in the number of Indonesian students to study in France.

In response, the Vice President extended his welcome and congratulations on Ambassador Berthonnet’s new post in Indonesia, which is his second post previously serving in French Embassy Kazakhstan.

Regarding the visit of French Foreign Minister and President to Indonesia, the Vice President believed it will strengthen the relationship that has been fairly well between Indonesia and France.

Ambassador further Berthonnet conveyed about the canceled tax palm oil that had emerged in 2016 on the draft bill of French Biodiversity. Indonesia considers the bill adopted by the French High Council Legislative violates the principles of the World Trade Organization.

Mr. Berthonnet then also complained of difficulties in obtaining Recognition of the Ministry of Agriculture for French Food Products of Plant Origin (FPPO) to enter Indonesia.

On energy cooperation, the Vice President stated that Indonesia and France have been working together for a long time.

“We have evidence of long-standing partnership in the field of energy development with France. The development Jatiluhur dam is one example,” said the Vice President.

The Vice President further added that Indonesia is now promoting new programs for using renewable energy sourced from wind and sun (solar energy) in favor of a global program on climate change and efficient use of energy.

Related to educational cooperation, the Vice President appreciated the French government that has provided the opportunity for Indonesians to study there. In fact, the Vice President admitted that he ever studied in Fontainebleau.

The Vice President then revealed that Indonesia is currently building an international Islamic university.

“Maybe we can work together in this field in the form of transfer of information about Islam adopted by Indonesia, which is moderate and may be slightly different from that in the Middle East,” said the Vice President.

Before concluding the meeting, the Vice President asked for French’s support to Indonesia which is currently in an effort to join the UN Security Council as a Non-Permanent Member of 2019-2020 period, and the candidacy of Professor Bambang Brodjonegoro –currently Indonesian Planning Minister—as the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in the period 2017-2021, the election of which will be held in the 40th Session of the Governing Council of IFAD on February 14 to 15, 2017.

Ambassador Berthonnet responded positively to this proposal and will follow up on the visit of Foreign Minister and President of the French Republic to come.

Ambassador Berthonnet in the meeting was present with French Embassy’s First Counsellor Charles-Henri Brosseau, Economic Counsellor Pascal Furth, and First Secretary Eric Chevreul; while Mr. Kalla was accompanied by the Head of the Secretariat of the Vice President Mohamad Oemar and Deputy on Government Policy Support Dewi Fortuna Anwar.