Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bali ready to host APEC Summit

The Indonesian tourist resort Island of Bali has nearly finished preparations to host delegates from the 21 member-countries at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit during the first week of October.

"We are almost finished making preparations. About 80 percent of the preparations have been completed," National Economic Committee (KEN) Chairman Chairul Tanjung, who is also the deputy chairman of the APEC steering committee, said when attending a coordination meeting for the APEC summit preparations in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Sunday.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono led the meeting and later inspected the preparations for the APEC summit on Sunday. The meeting was held at the Nusa Dua Hall of the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center (BNDCC), the venue of the October APEC event.

The President said he hoped that Indonesia would serve as the best-ever host for the APEC summit, which will be held October 1 to 9, 2013.

Gatot Dewa Broto, the head of the Public Relations and Information Center of the Ministry of Communications and Informatics, which is a member of the APEC organizing committee, said about 90 percent of the physical preparations have been completed.

He added that telecommunications infrastructure facilities were also ready for use during the summit, which expects delegates from 21 countries, along with 1,200 business leaders.

"Physical preparations are now OK and about 90 percent have been completed. Only several matters still need to be improved," Gatot Dewa Broto said.

Meanwhile, KEN Chairman Chairul Tanjung said organizers still have two weeks to finish preparations, which included infrastructure such as the expansion project of Ngurah Rai Airport, hotels and several other technical preparations.

"We had hoped the airport expansion project would have been completed by September 29 but, in fact, it was already in use on September 19, 2013," he said.

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika said three mega projects built to support the APEC summit had also been completed. The projects include a toll road that connects the Ngurah Rai Airport with Nusa Dua, the expansion of Ngurah Rai Airport and the Simpang Dewa Ruci underpass in Kuta.

"Over 90 percent of the three supporting mega projects have been completed. The three projects are now in the finishing stages," Governor Mangku Pastika said.

He also said that the toll road had passed a trial test and the Simpang Dewa Ruci underpass had recently become operational.

"The expansion project at Ngurah Rai Airport is now in the finishing stage. In general, all infrastructure facilities are ready. What remains to be done are only small matters with regards to the projects," the governor said.

Therefore, the expanded Ngurah Rai Airport and the toll road, which were built at a cost of Rp5.4 trillion, will soon be put into operation. Some Rp3 trillion was used for the airport, while the remaining Rp2.4 trillion was for the toll road.

Both projects were expected to support the APEC Summit, improve the local economy and the welfare of the public.

Also, Ngurah Ria Airport is being expanded so it will accommodate presidential aircraft that will be parked during the APEC summit. A total of 15 presidential airplanes will fly heads of state or heads of government to the summit.

"Until now (Sunday, Sept. 15), a total of 15 VIP planes for the APEC member countries have registered," Ngurah Rai Airport Commandant Flight Col. Sugiharto Prapto Walujo said in Nusa Dua, Badung District, Bali, on Sunday.

He said that of the 15 countries that have registered their planes, four have not yet mentioned the type aircraft that will be operated. Besides other considerations, the size of the planes also becomes a concern for organizers when arranging space at the airport.

Sugiarto further said that two countries have would each bring two presidential aircraft, namely Russia and the United States.

The APEC Summit is expected to be attended by leaders of 21 world economies. Heads of state who have confirmed participation include US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Former Taiwanese vice president Lien Chan has also confirmed he will represent Taiwan at the APEC Summit. The Foreign Affairs Ministry`s Director of Intra-Regional Cooperation in Asia-Pacific and Africa, Arto Suryodipuro, said at a press conference on Friday that Lien Chan will attend the APEC Leaders Summit on behalf of Taiwan, which is one of the APEC economies.

Besides heads of state, private sector leaders and influential figures in the Asia Pacific region will also address a series of meetings to be held ahead of the APEC Summit. This year the summit is themed "Resilient Asia Pacific, and Engine of Global Growth".

Additionally, the Indonesian National Police will provide support and maintain security in Bali and in the province during the summit.

"The Police Headquarters will provide full support, both in terms of equipment and personnel," National Police Chief General Timur Pradopo said during a coordination meeting for the holding of the APEC summit in Denpasar, Bali, on Sunday.

The national police chief said his agency would provide assistance for the Bali Regional Police in the form of facilities, security equipment and personnel.

But he did not give details about the number of police personnel which would be deployed from the National Police Headquarters. "We do not talk about total personnel, but no matter how many personnel are needed, we will prepare for it," he said.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics has accredited at least 2,300 journalists from around the world to cover APEC Summit 2013.

"Up to now, there has been 2,300 journalists who have been accredited to cover the APEC Summit since the press registration opened in early August," the Ministry of Communication and Informatics` Head of Information and Public Relation, Gatot S Dewabroto, told the press following a recent APEC Summit 2013 press briefing.

Dewabroto noted that the committee accepted 180 to 200 applicants per day, with most coming from the US, Japan, China, and Russia, besides Indonesian media.

"We predicted it would increase until the registration closing date on September 10," he said.

According to Dewabroto, approximately five thousands people from the 21 APEC economies delegations and journalists are expected to arrive in Bali in October. (Antara)

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