Netherlands Stops Development Aid to Indonesia per 2020
The Netherlands plans to stop sending development aid to five countries, including Indonesia, from 2020 onward. Lilianne Ploumen, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, said the relationship between the Netherlands and Indonesia - after 2020 - can be labeled "trade partners" only. Besides Indonesia, the Netherlands also plans to scrap development aid for Ghana and Kenya. Ploumen added that Dutch parliament wants to focus on disbursing development aid to those unstable countries located in or around Europe.
Lastly, Ploumen said the economies of Indonesia, Ghana and Kenya have grown significantly over the past decade. For example, in Indonesia, per capita gross domestic product (GDP) surged from USD $560 in 2000 to USD $3,630 in 2014, while the nation's poverty numbers halved over that period. Indonesian Ambassador to the Netherlands I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja said he will first study a letter from Minister Ploumen on this topic before responding publicly to the issue.
Relations between Indonesia and its former colonial masters have been volatile over the years. Notable examples of turbulent relations in the recent past (both positive and negative) include the following:
• In 2010 then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called off a state visit to the Netherlands at the very last moment after the separatist group 'Republic of South Moluccas' (RMS) - located in the Netherlands since 1966 - asked for Yudhoyono's arrest when touching ground in the Netherlands. Being head of the Indonesian state Yudhoyono would be held responsible for past war crimes. The Indonesian government requested certainty from the Dutch government that Yudhoyono would not be arrested and prosecuted. However, the Dutch government explained that such matters fall outside the scope of its authority (trias politica).
• In 2012 a tank deal (involving the purchase of 100 Dutch second-hand tanks), worth around USD $280 million, failed between Indonesia and the Netherlands after Dutch parliament disapproved the deal on concern that the Indonesian government could use these vehicles against its own people. Indonesian authorities were angry about this explanation, and it was particularly sensitive considering the Dutch are the former colonial power in Indonesia.
• In November 2013 diplomatic relations between both nations were good again when a group of Dutch politicians and more than one hundred Dutch company delegates, led by prime minister Mark Rutte, paid a four-day visit to Indonesia with the aim to enhance bilateral relations and search for business opportunities between both countries.
• In January 2015 diplomatic relations between both countries went downhill after Indonesia went ahead - despite fierce resistance from Dutch authorities - with the execution of several convicted foreign drug traffickers, including one Dutch citizen. As a consequence the Netherlands temporarily recalled its ambassador from Jakarta.
• In April 2016 Indonesian President Joko Widodo paid a two-day state visit to the Netherlands (part of his short visit to the European Union) where he was warmly welcomed by Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. It was the first time in 16 years that an Indonesian president visited the Netherlands. This visit reportedly resulted in about USD $606 million worth of Dutch investment commitments in Indonesia.
• In late August/early September 2016 Queen Máxima of the Netherlands was in Indonesia for a three-day visit primarily to talk about the importance of financial inclusion (she came in her role as United Nation's Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development). Queen Máxima was warmly welcomed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
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