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Transcript 12160

Joint Communique On the Occasion of the visit of the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. John Howard, to Indonesia

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/08/2001

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 12160

1. At the invitation of Her Excellency Megawati Soekarnoputri, President of the Republic of Indonesia, the Honourable John Howard MP, Prime Minister of Australia, paid a working visit to the Republic of Indonesia on 12-13 August 2001.

2. The President and the Prime Minister reaffirmed the commitment of both countries to a strong bilateral relationship based on mutual benefit and respect. The two leaders recalled the wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries dating back to Indonesia's struggle for independence. They underlined the importance of mutual trust and understanding and a spirit of dialogue as a basis for enhancing friendly relations. They expressed their shared commitment to the importance of maintaining and strengthening the personal and institutional ties between the two countries and their leaders. They reaffirmed the strong desire of both countries to enhance the relationship through continuing practical cooperation in a wide range of fields.

3. President Megawati Soekarnoputri and Prime Minister Howard noted Australia and Indonesia's shared interest in security, prosperity and democracy in South-East Asia. The Prime Minister reaffirmed Australia's support for Indonesia's territorial integrity and unity, noting that Australia's national interests are closely linked to Indonesia's stability and prosperity. The two leaders underlined the importance of a comprehensive approach to solving the problems of Aceh and Irian Jaya through advancing the primacy of dialogue, greater respect for human rights, and the implementation of special autonomy status within the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia.

4. Prime Minister Howard reaffirmed Australia's commitment to support Indonesia as it addressed its social and economic challenges and to support international efforts aimed at assisting Indonesia's economic recovery. He affirmed that Australia would continue to encourage the international community's support for Indonesia, including in the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and welcomed the importance placed by the Government of Indonesia in reaching agreement with those institutions on programmes of economic reform and management of Indonesia's debt.

5. The President expressed Indonesia's appreciation for Australia's development cooperation programme for 2001-02. The Prime Minister briefed the President about the Australian development cooperation programme, particularly regarding its focus on Eastern Indonesia, education and training, and governance. Beginning this year, the programme includes further initiatives in economic and financial management, legal reform and assistance for non-government and other organisations.

6. The two leaders welcomed the strong commercial links between Australia and Indonesia, noted that two-way trade had grown by 25 per cent over the past year to a record level of $A6.4 billion, and expressed their desire to see bilateral trade grow further from both sides. They welcomed the trade and investment mission led by the Australian Minister for Trade, the Honourable Mark Vaile, MP, to Indonesia in February 2001, and looked forward to a return visit to Australia by an Indonesian trade and investment mission.

7. The two leaders agreed that the Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum provided an effective mechanism for furthering bilateral cooperation. They welcomed the substantial progress made on the Joint Plan of Action agreed at the meeting held in Canberra on 7-8 December 2000, and looked forward to the sixth Ministerial Forum in Indonesia in mid-2002. They welcomed the establishment of the Joint Working Group on Marine Resources and looked to it to address issues of common interest, including Indonesian traditional fishermen.

8. The two leaders noted that strong people-to-people links, especially through education, tourism and other social-cultural activities, served as a solid foundation for strong relations between the two countries. Both leaders welcomed the growing links between the Indonesian and Australian Parliaments.

9. The two leaders noted the importance of establishing good relations between East Timor and its neighbouring countries, including Australia and Indonesia. The Prime Minister reaffirmed Australia's readiness to assist with the resettlement and repatriation of East Timorese refugees. The two leaders underlined their view that the international community's support in this matter is highly important. The continued full cooperation by all parties concerned, including UNTAET, UNHCR and other relevant international humanitarian agencies with the Government of Indonesia is key to the success of the process.

10. The Prime Minister warmly welcomed the acceptance of Indonesia as a Post-Forum Dialogue Partner of the Pacific islands Forum. The two leaders noted the importance of Indonesia's ideas on the establishment of the West Pacific Dialogue (formerly known as the West Pacific forum), and expressed their willingness to work together to develop the ideas further.

11. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to APEC's goals of prosperity and social improvement through trade and investment liberalisation, facilitation, and regional integration. They underlined their support for the launch of a new WTO round at the Doha Ministerial, based on a balanced broad-based agenda, taking into account the particular interests of developing countries.

12. The two leaders underlined the importance of ASEAN and of cooperative approaches to regional challenges to bolster regional security and prosperity. They noted the efforts made during the past years in the AFTA-CER linkage, and welcomed the commencement of work on a Closer Economic Partnership.

13. The two leaders emphasised the significance of continued cooperation to deal with irregular people movement and transnational crime, including drug trafficking and organised people smuggling. They agreed to exchange information and to intensify bilateral and international cooperation to address these problems.

14. During the visit, Prime Minister Howard met President Megawati Soekarnoputri and the Vice President, H.E. Dr Hamzah Haz. The Prime Minister called on H.E. Prof. Amien Rais, the Chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly and H.E. Akbar Tandjung, the Speaker of the House of the Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia. In addition, the Prime Minister met H.E. Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs, H.E. Prof. Dr Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti, Coordinating Minister for Economy, H.E. Dr Hassan Wirajuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Rini Soewandi, Minister for Trade and Industry, and H.E. Boediono, Minister for Finance.

15. Prime Minister John Howard expressed his gratitude for the warm reception and hospitality rendered to him and his delegation by the Government of Indonesia and extended his invitation to President Megawati Soekarnoputri to visit Australia at a time convenient to her. The two leaders looked forward to meetings between themselves and meetings between Ministers and senior officials on a regular basis.

Jakarta 13 August

13 August 2001

Transcript 12160