Indonesia and South Africa build on more than 325 years of relations

17 August 2020

Address by H.E. Mr. Salman Al Farisi, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the Republic of South Africa; Republic of Botswana; the Kingdom of Eswatini and Kingdom of Lesotho on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of Indonesia’s Independence Day
17 August 1945 - 17 August 2020

Your Excellencies, distinguished colleagues in the South African government and institutions, and esteemed member of the Diplomatic Corps in South Africa; greetings to all of you.

Photo: Ambassador Al Farisi and Mrs Umi Al Farisi

First and foremost, I would like to send my prayers to each and every one of you and your loved ones, may you always be safe and healthy in these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we learn from today’s reality, this pandemic has caused grievance to many, our thoughts and prayers are with them. Nonetheless, let us not forget the people who stand in the frontline of humanity’s struggle against this pandemic, they are all truly the unsung heroes in this battle.

Dear friends,

Today, Indonesia celebrates the historical event that marks our Independence. 75 years ago, Indonesian people faced the struggle against colonialism, where subsequently, we were victorious and gained the ultimate prize of freedom. Hence, 17th of August will forever be remembered as the Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia.

In those struggles, our predecessors underlined core values that need to be upheld by Indonesian people as our identity. Those values are constantly emulated in each action that is taken by Indonesia in its interactions with the international community. Having long-standing good relations with South Africa, we have learnt that both countries share those common values.

These similarities are reflected in the priorities that have been put in place by Indonesia and South Africa, particularly in these challenging times of the pandemic.

Indonesia and South Africa are currently serving as non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and have been actively carrying out their endeavours to address issues of peace and security, as well as counter-terrorism. Both countries echoed the call for an immediate ceasefire in conflict zones during this pandemic, and reaffirm that humanity needs to prevail above all else.

Moreover, both countries also serve as active members of the Foreign Policy and Global Health Initiatives, a process which has become more and more relevant as the COVID-19 pandemic looms over the globe. To this end, I would like to reiterate Indonesia’s unwavering commitment for our joint endeavours to provide affordable health care for all.

Another form of cooperation between Indonesia and South Africa in these difficult times is the attention and services provided by the two countries for their citizens who were stranded in Indonesia and in South Africa and unable to get home due to the pandemic. This lead to joint operations of repatriation processes which have been successfully performed by the two governments.

In this regard, I would like to take this opportunity to convey my sincerest gratitude to the South African government, specifically DIRCO, South African Airways, and everyone who played a crucial role in the success of the repatriation process.

Distinguished Colleagues,

Diplomatic relations between Indonesia and South Africa have been ongoing for 26 years. However not many people know that the historical relations and the ties of friendship between the two nations have lasted for more than 325 years.

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Therefore, on this happy occasion, I would like to invite South Africa to join hands with Indonesia in transforming this romanticism of the past into more concrete and measurable actions in the future. While the dialogue for some Agreements and MoUs have been temporarily paused during the early period of the lockdown, we are looking forward to having these discussions continued as soon as the lockdown restrictions are relaxed.   

I believe Indonesia and South Africa will be able to further enhance their mutual relations through a concerted effort.

Long Live Indonesia!

Long Live South Africa!

Thank you