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Britain, Indonesia sign initial agreement for partnership on railway project

FILE PHOTO: A Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train arrives at a station during its full trial run in Jakarta

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - The United Kingdom and Indonesia on Monday signed a letter of intent to cooperate in railway development, specifically Jakarta's mass rapid transport (MRT) project, the British embassy said in a statement.

The UK Export Finance (UKEF), its export credit agency, has expressed interest in providing up to $1.25 billion for the project, the statement said, adding that the UKEF has up to £4 billion ($4.72 billion) of financing available for Indonesia. It also said the agency is actively looking to participate in similar projects elsewhere in the country.

The $3 billion Jakarta MRT started operating in 2019 after a 16-kilometer stretch was completed under the first phase of development. It was built with Japanese expertise and funding.

The second phase of development is underway.

"Our leading economies are committed to a strategic partnership that will significantly boost our two-way flows of trade and investment and I am delighted that UK expertise and finance is supporting the development of Indonesian infrastructure," Owen Jenkins, British ambassador to Indonesia said in the statement.

The initial agreement was signed at the B20 summit, a business conference on the sideline of the Group of 20 leaders meeting this week in Indonesian resort island of Bali.

($1 = 0.8477 pounds)

(Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)