DENPASAR, KOMPAS.com - French ambassador to Indonesia Philippe Zeller said the relations between France and Indonesia have been increasing of late, while Indonesia has become increasingly strategic to the government and people of his country.
"Not only because of economic development, because there are 110 French multinational companies in Indonesia. Indonesia has been playing an increasingly significant international role," he said here Friday afternoon.
The career diplomat was in Denpasar for a reunion of Alliance Francaises, a French world cultural and language institution already in existence for the past 125 years. In Indonesia, the institution has been operating for 70 years already, and have branch offices in Medan, Bandung, Denpasar, Semarang, Balikpapan, and Surabaya.
Zeller said the development of the relations and similar perception in many respects had been going on since the last few years, the latest when President Susilo B Yudhoyono and French President Nicolas Sarcozy had 20-minute talks in the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, the United States.
"The two heads of state agreed on many things. France fully agreed with the green diplomacy concept," he said. The 20-minute talks between Yudhoyono and Sarcozy in Pittsburgh, he said, adequately presented the interest of the two countries because at a lower level understanding had already been reached.
With regard to the 7.6-magnitude earthquake which had struck Padang, Jambi, and many places in Jawa Barat, France has dispatched 75 military personnel with medical and building reconstruction skills. They had joined their counterparts from some other countries in cluding Indonesia.