Issue of Vaccine Cooperation Arises during the Visit of Russian Ambassador to Parliament
25-03-2021 / B.K.S.A.P.
Chair of the Indonesia-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Group Adies Kadir (right) exchanges souvenir with Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Georgievna Vorobieva at the Parliament Complex, Senayan, Jakarta on Wednesday (24/3/2021). Photo: Arief / Man.
Chair of the Indonesia-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Group (GKSB), Adies Kadir, stated that strengthening bilateral relations with Russia is crucially important in the framework of pandemic mitigation and the COVID-19 vaccine cooperation. Currently, Russia has produced and approved three vaccines, namely Sputnik V, EpiVacCorona, and CoviVac.
"In connection with vaccine diplomacy, Russia is now in the process of offering for the use of Sputnik V, the first ever vaccine that has gained WHO acceptance. We will ask for for detailed information to our colleagues in Commission IX on the latest update of the discussion between the commission and the government regarding the Russian vaccine," said Kadir said in a press conference after receiving Russian Ambassador to Indonesia, Lyudmila Georgievna Vorobieva, at the parliament complex, Senayan, Jakarta, Wednesday (24/3/2021).
While also mentioning both countries’ ongoing relation in political, legal, cultural, economic, educational sectors, student exchange and business sector, Kadir added that entering the 71 years of Indonesia's diplomatic relations with Russia, the Indonesian Parliament intends to re-establish communication hampered by the pandemic
Citing the Presidential Regulation the Republic of Indonesia Number 21 of 2016, which stipulates that Russia is one of the 169 countries that have been granted visa exemption to enter Indonesia, he appreciated the Russian Government's decision for facilitating and allowing passport holders of 53 countries including Indonesia to apply for free e-visas to enter Russia. “However, it is necessary to consider the visa exemption for Indonesians in the future," the Golkar Party politician asserted.
Regarding the Sputnik V vaccine, the Ambassador said that the vaccine is in the process of obtaining permission from the Indonesian Food and Drug Administration (BPOM). She went on to say that the vaccine has an efficacy of 91.6 percent and has been used in various countries with large Muslim population such as Egypt, Tunisia, Armenia, Iran, Armenia, UAE, Pakistan, and Palestine.
"The vaccine has been proven to be safe, one of the cheapest, and very effective. We strongly support Indonesia's stance that the issue of vaccine should not be politicized so that all countries, big and small, must have equal access to vaccines. We hope that the vaccine immediately gets permission from BPOM and can be included in the gotong-royong vaccination program," the Ambassador who has served in Indonesia since 2018 said.
In connection with visa regulation, the Ambassador appreciated the Indonesian government's steps to waive visa requirements for Russian citizens. Before the pandemic, at least 160 Russians visited Indonesia within one year. Meanwhile, as many as 20.000 Indonesians were recorded to enter Russia. "If visa exemption is applied, surely there will be more people interested to travel," she said.
The Indonesian Parliament views Russia as playing an important role in the world region of global context. Therefore, the Indonesia-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Group of the Indonesian House strongly supports the governments of the two countries to upgrade the relationship status to a strategic partnership. This measure is taken considering Russia’s historical perspective that has always supported Indonesia's sovereignty. In addition, Russia is regarded as one of the countries with the largest territory and has great military capability.
Furthermore, Russia and Indonesia are both members of the UN Security Council. Russia is also part of the G8 and G20, BRICS, APEC, ARF, and ASEM, and has a foreign policy that places ASEAN as a strategic regional partner. Russia is also the main gate for Indonesian products to Central Asian countries, including Europe. (alw / sf)