MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
20 July 1999
Visit To Singapore And Indonesia
I will be visiting Singapore and Indonesia, including East Timor, from 24-31 July.
From 24-28 July, I will be in Singapore to attend the 6th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the 32nd Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Post-Ministerial Conference. These meetings represent two of the most important events on Australia's foreign policy calendar. All ASEAN Foreign Ministers and the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN's 10 dialogue partners - including the United States, Japan, China and South Korea - will be in Singapore.
The meetings will provide an excellent opportunity to discuss the major issues in our region with all key players. Such issues include recovery from the East Asian economic crisis, the continuing need for regional financial reform and political and security developments in our region.
My visit coincides with some positive
glimmers on the economic horizon. But the region still faces
considerable challenges, primarily from the social consequences
of the economic crisis. My discussions on these issues with key
counterparts will reinforce Australia's commitment to, and engagement
The Post-Ministerial Conference includes an ASEAN-Australia bilateral meeting which will also focus on regional issues. There will be opportunities in the margins of these meetings for bilateral meetings with many of my counterpart Ministers.
From Singapore, I fly to Jakarta and Dili. The Jakarta leg, 28-29 July, will enable me to re-establish contact with key political players after the Indonesian General Election and before the Presidential Election. My aim is to register messages about Australia's long-term interests in Indonesia that apply regardless of political outcomes, and the importance of the continuity of Indonesia's economic policy direction. Calls will be made on President Habibie, the TNI Commander and Defence Minister General Wiranto and the leaders of the major political parties.
Naturally the East Timor issue will be high on my agenda in Jakarta. Given the proximity of my visit to critical dates for the East Timor process, it would be opportune to address this issue in depth with Indonesian and East Timorese interlocutors, including Xanana Gusmao.
My visit to Dili on 30-31 July, the
first such visit by an Australian Foreign Minister, will come
at a critical time and enable first-hand discussions with the
UN Mission in East Timor; local civilian, police and military
authorities; local political leaders from both pro-independence
and pro-integration sides; church
Minister - Innes Willox (02) 6277 7500
Department - Mark Croxford (02) 6261 1555
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