Tag Archives: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

The Dutch Return, This Time as Friends

Cornelis de Houtman, the first Dutch traveler to arrive in Indonesia and generations of other Dutch officials, traders and investors that came later, knew well how Indonesia could provide a lifeline for the Netherlands for hundreds of years, while making themselves very rich in the process.

And now, with Europe still struggling to cope with an economic downturn, Indonesia’s significance is back on the table, offering massive opportunities for the Dutch economy.

The Netherlands is sending its largest delegation since the independence of its former colony in 1945, a visit that has been dubbed by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as “the most serious effort to synergize the two countries that have deep historical ties for the sake of present and future mutual benefits.”

Dutch PM Mark RutteRutte, who leads 200 businesspeople representing more than 100 companies and research institutes on a three-day visit, will meet today with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the Netherlands aims to build a new chapter of deeper cooperations with Indonesia, while trying to offset incidents that have damaged relations with its former colony in recent years.

“We have a long and difficult history together. But we must focus on the future, not only on the past, for the mutual benefits of the two countries,” Rutte told the Jakarta Globe in an interview in his office last week.

New era of relations

To show that the visit is historic and crucial, Rutte and Yudhoyono will sign an unprecedented joint declaration on comprehensive partnership between the two countries to take the relations to a new high.

The declaration will become an umbrella agreement for both countries to boost their cooperation further.

“The declaration marks the new era of our relations and cooperation. The partnership will focus on water management, logistics, infrastructure, food security and agriculture and education,” said Rutte, who will be accompanied by several key ministers and officials, including Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen and Minister for Agriculture Sharon Dijksma.

Rutte stressed that what is important for both the Netherlands and Indonesia is how the countries can benefit each other in the future.

Bernard Bot, an influential Dutch senior diplomat and former foreign minister, who declared in 2005 that the Netherlands acknowledged Indonesia’s independence in 1945, agreed that it’s time for both countries to come to terms with past and move ahead. “There’s so much we can do together for the sake of our future,” he said.

“It’s for real now,” Retno LP Marsudi, the Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands, said in a separate interview.

Concrete offers

On water management, the Netherlands has funded a master plan for a massive sea wall in Jakarta Bay to prevent tidal flooding and to manage the flow of water within the capital.

The area behind the 35-kilometer long, 15-kilometer wide wall will be turned into office complexes, malls and other commercial buildings. There is even a plan to relocate all government offices to the area once it is completed by 2025.

“The master plan will be finished by early next year and groundbreaking will begin later in the year,” Retno said.

The Netherlands, Rutte said, has always had to deal with high water and sea waves in order to survive, considering that the country is partly below sea level. He added that his country would bring state-of-the-art technology for Indonesia to use.

“It’s time for the Netherlands to empower Indonesians by equipping them to fish, not by merely providing the fish,” said Jesse Kuijper, a businessman who will join Rutte to Jakarta and who heads the Netherlands-based Indonesia-Nederland Society.

On logistics, Dutch companies could help Indonesia build world-class seaports across the country while in agriculture several Dutch firms have offered their Indonesian counterparts investment and technology to enable the country’s farmers to produce food with the latest technology at a time when prices are rising and the nation is struggling to feed its people.

“The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products, and we have many areas we can work together,” said Rutte.

In education, Indonesia has asked the Netherlands to treat Indonesian students as local students, so that they pay lower tuition fees. “It would be an excellent gesture from the Dutch government if the Indonesian students are treated as locals,” said Kuijper.

Difficult time in Europe

Rutte acknowledged that Europe and the Netherlands are facing tough times. “We have a difficult period at the moment. I do believe that we have made good strides but there is still a long way to go,” he said.

He said he admired Indonesia’s high economic growth of 6 percent annually. “We are jealous,” he said, smiling.

The latest figures from the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) show the Netherlands economy grew by just0,1 percent in the last quarter compared to the previous.

The CBS also reported that there were 46,000 fewer jobs in the third quarter.

“Indonesia can offer Dutch businesspeople a place for investment with a huge market of 240 million people and a growing middle class of over 100 million, as well as entry gate to the bigger market of Asean,” said Aleksius Jemadu, dean of Pelita Harapan University’s School of Social and Political Sciences.

He said the Netherlands now sees Indonesia as a successful democracy with long-term stability. “Relations between Indonesia and the Dutch should be more special — more than other ties — because we have a long history together. We can synergize, with Indonesia providing natural resources and markets and the Dutch providing capital, knowledge and technology,” Aleksius said.

He added that the Netherlands can offer Indonesia the opportunity to become a producer and not just a consumer. “It is now depending on Indonesia to realize the goals,” Aleksius said.

The Netherlands already is Indonesia’s second-biggest trading partner in Europe. In 2012, trade between the two countries was worth $4.7 billion.

Blast form the past

Relations between Indonesia and the Netherlands have experienced ups and downs, with two incidents proving particularly embarrassing for leaders of both countries in the last few years.

President Yudhoyono was forced to cancel his trip to the Netherlands in 2010 after a group of Moluccan independence activists filed a motion in the Dutch courts to arrest the president for gross human rights violations in Maluku and Papua.

Relations became tense after the trip was canceled, with many in Indonesia blaming the Dutch for insulting Yudhoyono.

The relations plunged into a new low when the Dutch government had to cancel the sale of Leopard tanks to Indonesia last year after the parliament voted to reject the deal. Indonesia then angrily turned to Germany to buy the same tanks.

Rutte, who loves Indonesian food like nasi goreng and sate and whose parents lived for some time in Indonesia, gave assurances such incidents would not happen again under his administration. “In fact, we are expecting President Yudhoyono to visit us next year,” he said.

About the Moluccan activists, Retno said everybody has the right to keep on dreaming. “But the question is whether or not it is realistic.”

She said relations between the two countries are getting better, with both sides understanding and trusting each other.

Retno also said the close connections between the people of the two countries meant Indonesia and the Netherlands could not afford to let relations cool.

Currently, 10 percent of the Netherlands’ 17 million population has direct or indirect links to Indonesia. And every year, Retno said, thousands of Indonesians travel to the Netherlands as tourists or for business, with the Dutch doing likewise.

Aleksius said fewer and fewer people in Indonesia see the Netherlands as a former colonial power.

“I don’t think it matters much now. People are becoming pragmatic, seeking concrete benefits and looking forward instead of being bothered by the past,” he said.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

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The Netherlands Sends Largest Ever Trade Mission to Indonesia

This week, a group of Dutch politicians and businessmen, led by prime minister Mark Rutte, will pay a four day visit to Indonesia.

The aim of the visit is to smoothen bilateral relations and search for business opportunities between both countries.

This Dutch group, which includes more than one hundred Dutch company delegates, forms the largest Dutch trade delegation that has visited Southeast Asia’s biggest economy in the modern history.

However, relations between the Netherlands and Indonesia are still complex today.

Obviously, the complexity of relations between both countries traces back to the colonial period, which brings along more emotions, in particular on the part of Indonesia.

Last year, commotion emerged after the Dutch parliament refused to sell army tanks to Indonesia because the Indonesian government might use these against its own people. This then became a laughing stock for Indonesians who pointed to the colonial past.

Moreover, in 2010, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono cancelled a trip to the Netherlands at the last minute because the Dutch government could not guarantee Yudhoyono’s inviolability regarding a lawsuit filed by the government-in-exile of the Republic of South Maluku (RMS). The RMS issued legal proceedings to have Yudhoyono arrested upon entering the Netherlands.

Indonesia is a highly promising market. The country contains a large population (over 240 million people) with a rapidly expanding middle class.

Per capita GDP has been increasing strongly in recent years, implying that the expanding middle class segment has more and more money to spend.

Regarding commodities, Southeast Asia’s largest economy contains an abundance and variety, including palm oil, coal, nickel, rubber, and cocoa.

Despite the political sensitivities, trade relations between both countries have been growing robustly.

In the last three years, bilateral trade rose 25 percent to approximately €3.5 billion in 2012. As such, Indonesia is the fastest growing export market for the Netherlands in Asia.

However, there is still ample room for further growth and that is why the Dutch trade delegation, which includes Shell, Unilever, Philips and ING, is heading for Indonesia this week.

Source: indonesia-investments

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Indonesia serious about advancing prosperity in Papua

The Government of Indonesia is fully aware of the problems existing in its easternmost province of Papua and has taken steps to reduce the gap and eliminate the feelings of injustice felt by the residents of the province.

The scarcely populated regions in the province do not seem to be at par with the rest of the country in terms of economic and social development, but the government is serious about advancing prosperity there.

During a joint press conference held with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the Merdeka Palace on Monday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that the government was sincere and serious about advancing prosperity in Papua.

“To the Australian Prime Minister, I say that the Indonesian policy to manage Papua is very clear, for we take the approach of welfare, justice and democracy,” the President said.

The head of state further pointed out that Papua was the region to which the highest development funds had been allocated in Indonesia, although there were local and structural problems that had to be managed well.

“Indonesia is a democratic country, and the problems in Papua are part of democracy because the region is an integral part of Indonesia. Indonesia`s sovereignty covers Papua as well,” Yudhoyono noted.

On the occasion, Yudhoyono also extended his gratitude for the Australian government`s statement regarding the country`s respect for Indonesia`s sovereignty.

“One thing is clear that Indonesia will take full responsibility to overcome the problems in Papua properly and wisely,” he went on.

Meanwhile, the Australian Prime Minister also appeased Indonesian sensitivities by taking an unusually tough line against protesters in Australia agitating for independence of the Indonesian territory of Papua.

“The government of Australia takes a very dim view… of anyone seeking to use our country as a platform for grandstanding against Indonesia. We will do everything that we possibly can to discourage this and prevent this,” Abbott said.

He also the admired Indonesian Government`s efforts to improve the autonomy and life of the people of West Papua.

The Australian Prime Minister stated that he believed that the people in West Papua could lead a better life and have a better future as an integral part of Indonesian nation.

The people of Papua were yet to enjoy the fruits of development and therefore felt isolated, Velix Wanggai, President Yudhoyono`s special aide for regional development and autonomy had said in August.

He added that the feeling of injustice with regards to economic and social gaps had been further exploited by the outlawed Free Papua Organisation (OPM), which had incited a fight for independence.

According to Wanggai, backwardness, disappointment, and dissatisfaction of the people of Papua had served as ammunition to incite resistance against the government.

However, Marinus Yaung, an international law and political observer at the Cenderawasih University (Uncen) opined that a peaceful dialogue between Papua and Jakarta was the best possible solution for the problems of Papua.

“We agree that Papua-Jakarta Dialogue will help solve the problem in Papua,” Yaung said in Jayapura recently.

He noted that the problem in Papua was not limited to economic and social development; but was a political problem that had to be solved through peaceful dialogue with Jakarta.

Meanwhile, a hearing of the People`s Assemblies of Papua`s two provinces–Papua and West Papua–at the end of July had indicated that the majority of people in Papua were in favor of a dialogue.

Therefore, the Director of the Democracy Alliance for Papua (ALDP) Latifah Anum Siregar said that all stakeholders in the region should support the Papua People`s Assembly (MRP) in recommending a Papua-Jakarta dialogue immediately.

“The regional administrations of Papua and West Papua, the regional legislative assemblies, and people of the two provinces should support MRP`s recommendations,” added Siregar.

Meanwhile, Manokwari-based Institute of Research, Analysis and Development for Legal Aid (LP3BH) Director Yan Christian Warinussy had noted in August that the Papuan people had repeatedly urged Jakarta to open a peaceful, neutral and transparent dialog, facilitated by a third party in a neutral place.

Such a dialog had long been called for, but the Papua People`s Council (MRP) and West Papua People`s Council (MRPB) had only shown appreciation for the call and given their recommendations now, he said.

“Therefore, LP3BH of Manokwari, which serves as an advocate for human rights in Papua, had urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono not to close the door for a proposed Papua-Jakarta dialog in 2013,” Warinussy stated.

He said the proposed dialog should be held immediately, adding there was no reason for a delay.

Warinussy further stated that so far no response or appreciation had been shown despite the offer to facilitate a dialog with a system universally acceptable by the Papua Peace Networks.

As a result of the hearings held by official institutions, such as the MRP and MRPB, Jakarta was expected to react favorably to a proposed Papua-Jakarta dialog before the general elections in 2014, he added.

“A Papua-Jakarta dialog should be held to honor the aspirations of the 99 percent majority of the Papuan people,” he pointed out.

The MRP-MRPB hearing, which evaluated the implementation of the Law on Special Autonomy in the two provinces, had issued a number of recommendations including the holding of a Papua-Jakarta Dialog.

Supporters of the move are being drawn from youth organizations in Papua for immediate implementation of the proposed dialog.

Source: ANTARA News

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Abbott stresses ‘respect for Indonesian sovereignty’

Australian PM says two countries ‘are determined to end scourge’ of people-smuggling after Jakarta talks

Australia's PM Tony Abbot and Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang YudhoyonoAfter weeks of escalating tensions over his hardline “stop the boats” policies, Tony Abbott’s first official visit as prime minister to Jakarta on Monday was marked by a “collegial” tone.

Speaking with Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, at the state palace, Abbott dropped talk of turning the boats around, instead emphasising his commitment to respecting the sovereignty of Australia’s northern neighbour.

Abbott said he had a frank conversation about issues of sovereignty – including the restive province of West Papua – and the talks were “candid, constructive, and collegial”.

“Australia has total respect for Indonesia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Abbott, stressing a collaborative, approach to addressing the asylum seeker problem.

“We are resolved together united to tackle this problem and to beat it, on land and at sea, and at the borders of our countries.”

Abbott campaigned hard prior to his election on the promise that he could stop the flow of asylum seeker boats, but his policies to meet this pledge have been the subject of criticism and derision by Indonesian politicians.

Under the so-called Operation Sovereign Borders, Abbott has proposed turning asylum seeker boats around “when safe to do so”, as well as buying boats from Indonesian fishermen and offering them financial incentives for key information about people-smuggling operations.

The Indonesian foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, had been reported as saying he rejected Abbott’s plans. However, after Monday’s meeting, Natalegawa was diplomatic about future co-operation.

Saying the leaked transcript of his conversation with the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, last week was “behind us”, Natalegawa said that mutual respect for sovereignty would underscore any future agreements on asylum seekers.

Greeted by an Indonesian marching band performing a brassy rendition of the Australian anthem on the palace lawn, Abbott emerged from his meeting with Yudhoyono championing a unified front to combat people smuggling.

“We are determined to end this scourge, which is not just an affront to our two countries but which has so often become a humanitarian disaster in our seas between our two countries,” he said.

Touching on the issue of asylum seekers, President Yudhoyono said that Australia and Indonesia were both “victims” of people smugglers, and that asylum seekers were both an economic and social burden.

Each year thousands of asylum seekers fleeing from countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar transit through Indonesia, where they pay people smugglers to ferry them to Australian territory.

Discussing other aspects of the bilateral relationship, Yudhoyono noted that trade between the two countries increased 700% from 2011-2012, and the countries have targeted bilateral trade to hit $15bn in the near future.

Abbott who is accompanied by Bishop, his trade and investment minister, Andrew Robb, and a delegation of Australian businessmen, also stressed the need for greater trade and investment ties.

Abbott praised Indonesia’s democratic transition and thriving economy, noting that in the past Australia had made economic policy mistakes. In an apparent reference to a Labor decision to end live cattle exports he said Australia should “never again take actions that would jeopardise the food supply”.

He continued to apologise for Labor policies at an official dinner in Jakarta later on. He said: “There have been times, I’m sorry to say, when Australia must have tried your patience, when we ‘put the sugar on the table’ for people smugglers, or cancelled the live cattle trade in panic at a TV programme.

“There have been times when all sides of Australian politics should have said less and done more.

“I am confident that these will soon seem like out-of-character aberrations and that the relationship will once more be one of no surprises, based on mutual trust, dependability and absolute respect for each other’s sovereignty under the Lombok treaty.”

As part of his Colombo plan – an initiative to encourage more Australians to study in Asia – Abbott also highlighted the need to strengthen people to people links, and encourage Australia’s best and brightest to fully participate in the Asian Century.

Envisaging continued strong ties between Indonesia and Australia, Abbott said the “best days” of their relationship lay ahead.

Source: The Guardian

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Breakthrough imminent in Indonesia: O’Neill’s plan to defuse standoff over West Papua

By Rowan Callick === A breakthrough may be on the way for one of the most intractable conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region. Relations between Indonesia and the Melanesian nations, led by Papua New Guinea, have remained awkward ever since the Dutch withdrew from “Netherlands New Guinea,” and the Pacific islands became independent states.

The plight of “West Papua” as it is often called, has prevented Indonesia, the biggest and closest country in South-East Asia, from building the links that might otherwise have been expected, with the island countries to its east—even since it became a liberal democracy 15 years ago.

But, the PNG government, led by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, has recently launched an initiative aimed at defusing the stand-off over West Papua, building the economy of the centre of New Guinea island, and gaining diplomatic spin-offs.

The western half of New Guinea island comprises two Indonesian provinces: Papua, whose capital is Jayapura, and West Papua, whose capital is Manokwari. It has a 750-km mostly mountainous and often in the past fraught and dangerous border with PNG.

In 2001, the area now covered by the two provinces was declared autonomous with 80 percent of its tax receipts to be retained for local use. But this process has remained only partially complete compared with the more successful governance situation in Aceh, at the other end of the Indonesian archipelago.

O’Neill, who led a delegation to Jakarta for talks with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said: “West Papua has been a sticky issue for PNG and the western Pacific for quite some time. Our role is to open up discussions.

Genuine desire
“We feel the government of Indonesia has a genuine desire to ensure issues relating to West Papua are managed in a mutually beneficial manner. For the first time in our bilateral discussions, we were able to discuss this openly with the Indonesian government,” said PM O’Neill.

He said he is convinced that Yudhoyono now wishes to withdraw military presence from West Papua, and allow for more autonomy through economic empowerment of the people.

“We feel this is a good opening for us to engage with the Indonesian government so we can participate in the improvement of the lives of Melanesian people there and of our own people along the border. Our officials are now engaged meaningfully in establishing the cooperation we agreed,” he said.

PNG’s Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato elaborated on the deal that was informally struck: “The Indonesian president will adopt a softer approach to West Papuan issues, allowing them greater autonomy.”

As an indicator of this, official representatives will participate in the Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture to be hosted by PNG next year.

He said Indonesia would allow Papua New Guinea communities near the border to draw on its excess hydro power capacity with state-owned enterprise PNG Power buying electricity for its grid from Indonesia, and that the two countries would jointly explore for oil and gas in highly prospective targets that straddle the border.

Indonesia, Pato said, would fund an ambitious paved highway from Merauke on its side of the border in the south, to PNG’s Wewak on the northern coast.

The countries’ leaders signed a total of 11 MOUs during O’Neill’s visit, after which Pato and his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa began to chart an implementation course.

Extradition treaty
They agreed on an extradition treaty—which may ensure that Indonesian businessman fugitive Joko Chandra—wanted for corruption and who obtained PNG citizenship under a process that is being challenged legally—returns to face charges.

Another agreement under final negotiation, will permit planes to fly from Nadi, Fiji, through Honiara in Solomon Islands, then Port Moresby, and on to Bali.

One goal of the warming of relations, Pato said, was to prevent any resurgence of asylum-seekers from the Indonesian side of the border. About 8,000 refugees remain in PNG, living in camps in Western province run by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees following earlier conflicts, many of them seeking refuge more than 25 years ago.

The discussions between PNG and Indonesia have led to the latter inviting the foreign ministers of the four Melanesian states — Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji, as well as PNG, who form the “Melanesian Spearhead Group” (MSG) — to visit its Papua and West Papua provinces.

O’Neill flew for talks with Yudhoyono instead of attending an MSG leaders’ meeting held at the same time in New Caledonia.

While PNG is helping to usher its fellow Melanesians in towards better relations with Indonesia, Indonesia in return is backing Port Moresby’s membership of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

ASEAN has 10 members at present — and PNG feels it is entitled to join it because it has such a long land border with the group’s largest state.

Indonesia is also backing PNG’s bid to host the 2018 summit of the APEC forum — which would bring the American and Russian presidents, among other leaders, to Port Moresby — which will be decided at the next summit in Bali in October.

“It’s important for us to have such a relationship with Indonesia,” said Pato — who points out that in previous years, tensions not only unresolved but not even fully discussed about West Papua had prevented the full development of positive, mutually beneficial arrangements between the countries.

Now a joint committee of ministers from the countries has been formed to tackle the details and ensure the MOUs are implemented, he said — starting with the joint economic projects.

Source: Islands Business

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PNG promotes engagement with Indonesia over West Papua

PNG's PM Peter O'Neill

PNG’s PM Peter O’Neill

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has called for engagement with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the way forward for the issue of West Papua.

Attending the Pacific Islands Forum in Majuro this week, the PNG Prime Minister said: “We are generally encouraged by the response that we are getting from the Indonesian government – especially the President – where he has stated to us very clearly that he wanted to engage with us to resolve issues in West Papua, so there is a level of autonomy for the people of West Papua.”

The issue of West Papua was high on the agenda at the June 2013 summit of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in New Caledonia, where delegations from the Indonesian government and the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) both addressed the summit plenary.

However the topic of West Papua was not on the Forum agenda in Majuro and there was no mention of human rights concerns in the final Forum communique.

At the time of the MSG Summit, Prime Minister O’Neill and PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato were leading a major delegation to Indonesia.

This week, O’Neill stressed the importance of engagement with Indonesia, given their opposition to independence for the western half of the island of New Guinea, which Jakarta administers as the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

“I want to make it very clear again that any resolutions we may have to come to in respect of West Papua will always include Indonesia,” O’Neill said. “It pays for us to stay engaged with Indonesia.”

The major focus of O’Neill’s June visit to Jakarta was trade and investment, but security issues and border relations were discussed.

“We look forward to working closely with them and also developing joint economic areas with the border area,” O’Neill said. “Some of the vast natural resources we have around the border area we can develop together.”

The PNG Prime Minister said that over time there has been improved dialogue on the issue: “I’m encouraged by the events that are taking place, including the Melanesian Spearhead Group ministers are going to have a tour to West Papua. But I’m also happy that the Indonesian government has asked us, the Papua New Guineans, to resolve some of the issues in West Papua.

As yet, details of the proposed MSG Ministerial Mission to Jakarta and Jayapura have not been finalised. In Majuro, Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister Edward Natapei confirmed to Islands Business that no dates have yet been set for the visit.

For the Vanuatu government led by Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil, the MSG’s engagement with Jakarta must be conducted together.

The leader of Vanuatu’s delegation in Majuro, Deputy Prime Minister Natapei told Islands Business: “We believe that the MSG should conduct this ministerial mission together, with all of us intact.”

Last month, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo made a state visit to Indonesia – the first Solomon Islands leader to visit the South East Asian nation.

In a statement after the visit, the Solomon Islands government said: “Prime Minister Lilo’s recent trip not only produced greater technical cooperation, trade commitments and people-to-people relations, but has been hailed by Indonesia for the country’s ongoing active role in multilateral forums such as the Coral Triangle Initiative, the G7 Plus and also APEC.”

Source: Islands Business

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PM Rudd Reiterates Recognition of Indonesia’s Sovereignty Over Papua

Visiting Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd reiterated his government’s recognition of Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua on Friday (05/07).

“I would like to publicly reaffirm here, what successive Australian prime ministers have said in the past, that Australia recognizes, recognized in the past and will recognize in the future, the territorial integrity of the Republic of Indonesia that includes Papua,” Rudd said.

Australian PM Kevin Rudd and Indonesian Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Australian PM Kevin Rudd and Indonesian Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Speaking at a joint press conference at the Bogor Palace, Rudd also praised President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s “strong leadership” and the special autonomy package accorded for Papua’s development.

“I encourage him in this direction. I am sure, as Australian Prime Minister, I will do everything I can in supporting him in this important direction as well,” he said.

Rudd, who was on visit for the third annual Indonesia-Australia Leaders’ Meeting, said that Yudhoyono’s government had already achieved success in Aceh, where the government also granted an autonomy package after it agreed with separatists rebels there to end decades of conflict in August 2005.

He said that Australia wanted to work with the government here in a way that could be helpful “in making sure that we bring about a long-term, stable, prosperous and secure Papua that is part of the Republic of Indonesia.”

A joint communique issued after the meeting of the two leaders, said that they “reaffirmed the two countries’ continued adherence to the principles of respecting each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as mandated in the Lombok Treaty.”

“I am certain that under the leadership of Prime Minister Rudd, the cooperation, partnership and friendship between the Republic of Indonesia and Australia can continue to be stepped up,” Yudhoyono said on the same occasion.

Yudhoyono said that he and Rudd shared the same commitment in seeking new opportunities to boost cooperation.The leaders, it said, were encouraged by the many “positive developments” in their bilateral relationship since the previous meeting in Darwin last year.

In the joint communique Yudhoyono and Rudd also encouraged the further promotion of bilateral trade and investment cooperation between Indonesia and Australia.

“Noting that the two countries have shared interest in the area of food security, both leaders agreed to further explore trade and investment cooperation in the agriculture sector, including in the beef and cattle industry,” it said.

Tensions had risen several times between Indonesia and Australia over the alleged maltreatment of cows here, leading to a cut in beef imports from Australia.

The Leaders also recognised the importance of the two countries’ wide-ranging cooperation in tackling regional and global challenges, particularly transnational crimes such as terrorism, cyber-crime, drugs, corruption and money-laundering.

On the issue of human trafficking and people smuggling, the two countries agreed to continue to develop a regional solution.
The regional solution, the communique said, should involve countries of origin, transit and destination and cover elements of prevention, early detection and protection.

“They stressed the importance of avoiding unilateral actions which might jeopardize such a comprehensive regional approach and that may cause operational or other difficulties to any party,” the statement said.

Source: the Jakarta Globe

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