On the occasion of the 74th anniversary of the declaration of independence of Indonesia and the festival "The Wonders of Indonesia 2019", on September 24, H. E. Ms. Sri Astari Rasjid,

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia to Bulgaria, gave a reception at Sofia Hotel Balkan. The event was attended by the Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria - Mrs. Iliana Yotova, and other officials, ambassadors, representatives of the Bulgarian institutions, the diplomatic corps, the business, the media, many business partners, cultural figures, artists, Indonesians living in our country, friends.

In her greetings to the guests H. E. Ms. Sri Astari Rasjid stated:

Even though we are gathered here today for a happy occasion, it saddened me to say that Indonesia has suffered a great loss. Our 3rd President, H. E. Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, passed away on 11th September 2019, may his soul rest in peace. So, I would like to ask all of you to hold a moment of silence in remembrance of our late President. Thank you.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year marks the 63 years of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Bulgaria. And over the years, the partnership has continued growing even stronger.

What makes this year even more special is the fact that our Foreign Minister, Her Excellency Retno Marsudi, visited Bulgaria, just last week. It has been 25 years since our last Foreign Minister came to Bulgaria.

During her visit, not only has she met with her counterpart - Her Excellency Ekaterina Zaharieva, she also paid a courtesy call to the Prime Minister, His Excellency Boyko Borissov and the President, His Excellency Rumen Radev.

In addition, together with the Minister of Economy, His Excellency Emil Karanikolov, and Minister Marsudi officially opened the Indonesia-Bulgaria Business Forum, attended by more than 100 businessmen from both Indonesia and Bulgaria. The Minister was also witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and the Bulgarian Chambers of Commerce and Industries. Proven once again the closeness of the economic cooperation between Indonesia and Bulgaria.

One significant indication of the ever expanding cooperation between the two countries is the number of trade volume. Last year we witnessed an extraordinary increase of over 330 percent in trade. But we are not satisfied… as stated by both Foreign Ministers. We need to double the number in the next five years.

We have also experienced an increase of more than 15% of Bulgarian tourists to Indonesia, as well as intensifying our B-to-B engagements.

All these are positive signs that our relations are benefitting both parties.

But our bilateral relations go further than just merely Economic affairs. To strengthen cultural attachment Indonesia is honoured to have inaugurated the Indonesian Heritage Permanent Collection at The National Gallery Kvadrat 500, which was officially inaugurated by our Foreign Minister, H. E. Retno Marsudi and the Bulgarian Minister of Culture, His Excellency Boil Banov.

We hope that the Indonesian Heritage Permanent Collection will inspire the people of Bulgaria to learn the history and have a deeper understanding of Indonesia, and will also generate mutual respect among our people, as well as forge stronger friendship and intercultural relations between the people of Indonesia and Bulgaria.

Then H. E. Ms. Sri Astari Rasjid thanked everyone who contributed to the reception on the occasion of the national holiday of the country. And she cut the special rice cone - tumpeng, together with the Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria - Mrs. Iliana Yotova, one of the Honorary Consuls of the Republic of Indonesia - Mr. Borislav Petrov, and the Director of the Directorate of Asia, Australia and Oceania at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hristo Polendakov.

After that the guests at the reception enjoyed the festival. They saw a beautiful fashion show of high fashion by leading Indonesian designer Chossy Latu from Java Island, as well as traditional dance from Surakarta. The songs of the talented Indonesian singer Reda and the Bulgarian singer Reneta Koleva were also heard. As a sign of the synthesis of the culture of both countries, the evening's presenter Kaloyan Stoyanov and one of the singers were dressed in Bulgarian Thracian costumes, and the presenter - actress Daria Mitusheva, and the other singer - in Indonesian. All the guests were fascinated by another Indonesian wonder - their world-renowned cuisine.

The photos were provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in the Republic of Bulgaria.

Above: H. E. Ms. Sri Astari Rasjid, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia, with the Indonesians from Surakarta performing traditional dances

Below: moments from the reception and the festival