Indonesia, Russia to work together in counter-terrorism

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (left) talks with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi prior to their meeting in Jakarta on Aug 9, 2017.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (left) talks with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi prior to their meeting in Jakarta on Aug 9, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA • Indonesia and Russia pledged yesterday to strengthen cooperation in cyber security and counter-terrorism as concern grows about the spread of radicalism in South-east Asia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is on a two-day visit to Indonesia, said the two countries would work together more closely to counter the spread of ISIS ideology.

"The threat that the ISIL is has not vanished. Its members have been spreading all over the world, including areas close to the Russian and Indonesian borders," Mr Lavrov said, using another acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group.

Hundreds of radicals from Indonesia have flocked abroad to fight with ISIS, and the country has seen a surge in plots and attacks linked to the militants over the past year.

Indonesian officials have also said dozens of their countrymen have travelled to the southern Philippine city of Marawi to fight with militants loyal to ISIS.

The militants seized parts of the city over two months ago and have resisted all attempts by the Philippine army to evict them.

"We have agreed that our special services will pay particular attention to increasing coordination in our joint efforts to fight this scourge," Mr Lavrov said.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the two countries had strong ties on political and defence issues, and Indonesia wanted to deepen trade ties.

Two-way trade between Indonesia and Russia from January to April stood at US$788.9 million (S$1.08 billion), up 50.8 per cent from the same period last year.

Ms Marsudi said at the meeting that the two countries were also mulling over upgrading their bilateral ties to that of a strategic partnership.

In addition, the ministers also discussed tensions on the Korean peninsula, the South China Sea and conflict in the Middle East, but gave no details.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2017, with the headline 'Indonesia, Russia to work together in counter-terrorism'. Print Edition | Subscribe