The minute the news broke through, confirming that King Salman of Saudi Arabia and entourage will visit Indonesia from 1 March 2017 for a stay of 9 whole days, Indonesia’s social media, tv stations, and the official press went abuzz with anticipation of this historic visit.
This is the first time after 47 years that the King of Arabia has visited Indonesia. The last time was in 1970.
Cabinet Secretary, Pramono Anung said that, King Salman of Saudi Arabia will arrive on a state visit to Jakarta on Wednesday, 1 March 2017, where His Majesty’s plane will land at the Halim Perdanakusumah International Airport.
Image by Manuel Lopez via thedailybeast
President Joko Widodo himself will personally welcome His Majesty at the steps of the plane and lead him to the Airport Lounge. President Joko Widodo will precede first to Bogor Palace, to receive King Salman officially there. Here His Majesty will be welcomed with a grand parade that include a ceremonial cavalry troop, and school children, and given a 21 gun salute.
King Salman will then be awarded with the highest honorary medal of the Republic of Indonesia, confirmed Mrs. Retno, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister. This is indeed a historic visit which aims to boost economic cooperation between the two countries, said Minister Retno. ”King Salman’s visit to Indonesia is an honor for us, which also shows the close relations that exist between the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”, stated Pramono Anung, Cabinet Secretary.
Bogor Palace is located some 60 kms from Jakarta, a one hour drive from the airport via toll road. This early 19th century palace at the foothill of Mt. Salak was built by Sir Stamford Raffles and is set amongst green lawns where spotted deer can be seen grazing amidst the sprawling world renowned Bogor Botanical Gardens.
In more recent history, Bogor Palace was also the place where in 1954 the five legendary leaders of the new world, Soekarno of Indonesia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, U Nu of Burma , Sir John Kotelawala of Ceylon and Mohamed Ali of Pakistan, agreed to hold the historic First Asian African Conference , also known as the Bandung Conference, that brought together for the first time the newly independent nations of the world.
Here business sessions by the two leaders of Saudi Arabia and Indonesia will be held with respective ministers, followed by Luncheon. King Salman is then scheduled to plant a tree in the Botanical gardens and stroll around the gardens at leisure, in the shade of hundred years old, gnarled trees.
Among items to be discussed are investments in the oil refinery in Cilacap, cooperation in education and religious teaching, and the quota for Indonesian pilgrims for the yearly hajj.
While in Tourism investments, Tourism Minister, Arief Yahya informed that Arab investors have already shown interest in investing in tourism projects in the Mandeh islands in West Sumatra, the Tanjung Kelayang destination in Belitung, and the Mandalika fully tourism integrated resort area in Lombok.
Image via lensaremaja
The following day, on Thursday, 2 March 2017, King Salman is planned to visit the grand Istiqlal Mosque and Parliament House. During these visits he will meet Indonesia’s religious and political leaders as well as university dons.
From Jakarta, King Salman and entourage will spend a 6 days’ holiday on the fabulous island of Bali, staying in the Nusa Dua area, while a number of investors and journalists in the entourage are expected to visit their respective areas of interest.
The authorities in Bali and the tourism sector have confirmed that all preparations on the island are set to give the King and his entire entourage of 1,500, a most memorable holiday.
Image via republika.co.id
Meantime, Indonesia’s media and social media have gone “hot” about the preparations made for the visit. The Istiqlal mosque in Jakarta has been specially spruced up for the royal visit, and of course about the thousands of security personnel who have been specially prepared to guard the safety of the King and his entire retinue.
People were even interested in the Menu to be served at Bogor Palace. The Cabinet Secretariat confirmed that it will be a blend between Middle Eastern “nasi kebuli” and Indonesian veal dishes.
Everyone, it seems wanted to make sure that the visit of the King of Arabia to Indonesia must be a resounding success.