JAKARTA: The Saudi Arabia’s Embassy in Jakarta celebrated the country’s 88th National Day on Monday evening with presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto among the public figures attending the reception at a hotel in Jakarta.
Prabowo was flanked by his deputy in the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party and Deputy House Speaker Fadli Zon, who shared the VIP table with Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignatius Jonan, ICT Minister Rudiantara and Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia, Osama bin Mohammed Abdullah Al Shuaibi. The son of Indonesia’s 6th president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, who is part of Prabowo’s campaign team, was also spotted in the VIP crowd.
The playing of national anthems of both countries and a brief Qur’an recital marked the start of the reception.
Speaking on behalf of the government, Jonan thanked King Salman and the people of Saudi Arabia for facilitating the speedy welcome of 203,351 Indonesian pilgrims who performed the Hajj this year and for sending a big contingent to participate in the 18th Asian Games which was held in Jakarta and Palembang last month.
“On this joyous occassion, we would like to appreciate the remarkable achievements on the relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Indonesia, and the continuing efforts to increase the relations in various sectors that will benefit both countries’ interests,” the ambassador said in his speech.
He added that the historic visit of King Salman on March 2017 has resulted in the signing of 11 memorandum of understanding in different sectors that contributed to the increased relations between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
The VIPs were then invited to the stage to jointly cut the cake and took part in the sword dance.
Prabowo, who is running his presidential bid for the second time against incumbent President Joko Widodo in next year’s elections, told journalists that it is very important to maintain relations between the two countries.
“Prabowo is always invited to Saudi National Day and he always attends. We congratulate the kingdom for the national day celebration. We have a very strong emotional connection with Saudi Arabia,” Fadli told Arab News.
“I congratulate the kingdom, the government and the people of Saudi Arabia for the national day celebration. We have a very strong connection not just in the context of Hajj and umrah but also in other contexts. Last month I met my Saudi counterpart in a G20 meeting in Argentina and we talked about how to develop digital economy between the two countries,” Rudiantara told Arab News.
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