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Indonesian president urges EU to boost economy

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged the European Union on Tuesday to help kickstart the slowing global economy, following talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"We hope from the perspective of Asia that the economic difficulties of Europe, above all in some countries, can be solved as soon as possible...," Yudhoyono told a joint news conference with Merkel.

"Europe is an important pillar in the world economy, like the US and Asia," the Indonesian leader said in comments that were made through an interpreter.

He said it was even more important "since the economy of the BRICS countries is also slowing, above all in China, India and Brazil" and that the effects were felt in many countries.

The BRICS group also includes Russia and South Africa.

Yudhoyono also expressed hope that Europe and the US would "undertake a lot" to help boost growth, adding that Asia would also make efforts.

Turning to a future free trade agreement between Asia and the EU, the Indonesian president stressed the need to couple trade and investment, saying the two aspects could not be separated.

Merkel said that she backed the signing of a free trade accord initially between the EU and Indonesia ahead of a wider agreement between the EU and Asia.

Merkel told reporters she had "nothing against it happening with Asia but as a start it was concentrated" on Indonesia, and added: "If one were to have EU-Indonesia, one would have an important component."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130305/indonesian-president-urges-eu-boost-economy