Jakarta-wapresri.go.id On the sidelines of attending the Indian Association Rim Association (IORA) Leaders’ Summit in 2017, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop paid a courtesy call on Vice President Jusuf Kalla at the Vice President’s Office on Jalan Merdeka Utara, Jakarta, Monday (Mar. 6).

In the meeting, Minister Bishop told the Vice President of Australia’s plan to open its Consulate General in Surabaya, following the consulate-generals already existing in Bali and Makassar.

“With the new consulate general in Surabaya, we hope to increase trade, tourism and investment between the two countries,” said Bishop.

To that end, Bishop continued, Australian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo will be present in the Indonesia-Australia Business Week held from March, 6-10 in Jakarta, together with 120 Australian delegates to promote the country’s tourism and education.

Bishop further wished that the ongoing negotiations of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Indonesia and Australia would run smoothly.

Bishop then alluded to the handling of immigrants through the “Bali Process”. She told that in August 2017, Australia will hold a meeting on the handling of immigrants in Perth, which will also involve the private sector.

On the occasion, Bishop also appreciated President Joko Widodo’s visit to Australia last February, which she said was full of warmth and friendliness.

“Both of them [President Jokowi and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull –Red] even said hello to people passing by when they walked in the park,” said Bishop.

In response, Vice President said, the visit showed the good relationship between Indonesia and Australia.

“The success of President Jokowi’s visit to Australia shows both leaders’ enthusiasm to improve bilateral relations,” he said.

The Vice President then welcomed the opening of the new Australian consulate general in Surabaya, as particularly it is believed to increase investment and tourism of each country.

According to him, Australia is one of the favorite countries for Indonesians to visit as it is geographically close to Indonesia.

“It is similar to Bali where most of tourists there are from Australia,” said Vice President.

Related to “Bali Process”, the Vice President asserted that the Indonesian Government has taken efforts to facilitate refugees in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“Indonesia has even helped 250 thousand of Vietnamese refugees on Galang Island, Batam,” he concluded.

Attending the meeting with Minister Bishop were Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Paul Grigson, Adviser at the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Harry Guinness and Josie Ashby, and Political Counselor Christian Hirst.