A Peaceful Partnership: An Interview with the Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Despite the many geological, cultural, and demographic differences between the Republic of Indonesia and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the countries share many similar values that have strengthened bilateral relations for many decades. As stated by His Excellency Mr. Walid Al Hadid, Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to Indonesia, those similarities are the driving forces of a better relationship. One of the first issues that came up for discussion was regarding both countries commitment to combat terrorism and defend the true image of Islam. “Like Indonesia, we (Jordan) want to root out extremism and defend the true image of Islam.”

In addition to defending the notions of Islam, the two countries have adopted a policy of non-interference; both work hard to bring about more stability and peace to their regions. Both also feel a responsibility and duty towards the international community.” It is here we can see the hopes of an Ambassador in disseminating universally accepted values in order to bring the most geographically distant nations closer together even.  In addition, he states that both countries have a duty to bring about more stability and peace on an even larger scale, towards the international community.

Friendly bilateral ties between Jordan and Indonesia have been quite strong since the 1950s. This special friendship from Jordan’s leadership has continued regardless of who is at the helm in Indonesia. As the Ambassador puts it “Our relationship is strategic and not personal.” A keyword that keeps on popping up during the interview was “complimentary”, both in political and economic coordination. For example, Jordan is able to produce massive amounts of phosphate, fertilizers and industrial salt; things that Indonesia minimally produces independently. On the other hand, Jordan’s topography is lacking in trees and sea commodities. Therefore, Indonesia steps in with its plywood and fishery export. All this takes place without being at the expense of local industries in both countries. With complimentary economic interactions, both countries are able to sustain local businesses, while also contributing to the international exchange of goods. “Our relationship with Indonesia will always be a win-win situation and the sky is the limit for our cooperation.”

The Ambassador informed me that “we are currently in the final stage of concluding some important MOUs, including; MOU between Indonesia’s National Resilience Institute (LEMHANAS) and Jordan’s Military Academy for military training; between the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education of the Republic of Indonesia and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; MOU between the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Indonesia and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; MOU between the National Archives of the Republic of Indonesia and Department of the National Library of the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; and Cooperation Agreement in the Field of Tourism between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Republic of Indonesia.”

When it comes to politics, in 2014 both countries signed an MOU for political consultation which took place on the sidelines of His Majesty King Abdullah II’s visit to our country. In terms of security, a crucial agenda mentioned by Mr. Al Hadid was the combating of global terrorism. In addition to top-tier interactions, people-to-people relations are also encouraged through higher education, tourism and trade. “We encourage more students to come and study in Jordan.”

When asked about challenges in doing business with Indonesia, Mr. Al Hadid instead praised the Widodo administration in overcoming bureaucracy and legislative hurdles. “A lot has been done by the Indonesian government to find solutions; the business community is happy that the current administration is working to boost investment.”

All in all, Indonesia and Jordan continue to cultivate a peaceful partnership. Unfortunately the current state of warfare in neighboring countries has had a huge impact on Jordan’s economy. Over one million three hundred thousand Syrian refugees have fled to Jordan, a nation of limited space and resources, and the international community has yet to give an appropriate response. Driven by the spirit of peace and goodwill, Jordan has opened its arms towards those in need. However, Mr. Al Hadid has expressed great concern regarding this issue.

“We need the help of the international community to provide real developmental and economic aid to the refugees in order for them to meet their basic needs. My government has been subsidizing essential services, particularly education and health which benefited also those refugees.” Unstable conditions within the region have deprived Jordanian exports from access to Syrian and Iraqi markets, and also hinder access to European markets. It’s about time we support a country that has dedicated so much towards sustaining peace and stability in the world.