Statement on Australia-Indonesia talks

Media release

17 July 2012

Indonesian Foreign Minister Dr Marty Natalegawa and Australian Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr met in Jakarta on July 16, 2012 to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues.

The Ministers agreed that Australia and Indonesia would build on existing strategic partnerships to elevate bilateral relations to a higher level, and advance regional peace and prosperity.

Minister Natalegawa said the relationship was solid and strong, and had become mature in addressing bilateral issues.

The meeting discussed issues arising from the 2nd Annual Indonesia-Australia Leaders Meeting held in Darwin in early July, as well as enhanced political and economic co-operation between the two nations.

Ministers agreed the bilateral partnership was important in dealing with issues such as the release of Indonesian minors, maritime cooperation to enhance search and rescue capability, people smuggling in the context of the Bali Process, consular matters and humanitarian and disaster relief response.

The Ministers also recognised the potential to increase trade and investment links between Australia and Indonesia, and welcomed the imminent commencement of negotiations on the Indonesia–Australia Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

The Ministers agreed there was a unique partnership between Australia and Indonesia that would be an asset in supporting the region's ambitions

It was further agreed that Australia and Indonesia would co-operate on building a peaceful, prosperous and connected region.

Senator Carr paid tribute to Indonesia's period as ASEAN Chair, which saw the expansion of the East Asian Summit to include the United States and Russia. He reaffirmed Australian support for ASEAN's centrality in the increasingly important web of regional bodies.

Both Ministers agreed on the importance of a peaceful resolution of territorial disputes in the region. They discussed the importance of a code of conduct for the South China Sea.

The Ministers acknowledged that current reforms underway in Myanmar offered enormous promise. As ASEAN Chair, Indonesia engaged directly with Myanmar and recognised that the profound changes underway were irreversible. Indonesia and Australia were committed to assist Myanmar in building its capacity for governance, the setting up of democratic institutions, and in human rights.

Senator Carr thanked Minister Natalegawa for outlining ASEAN's connectivity agenda and agreed that Australia would support this agenda including through infrastructure development, better community links and trade opportunities.

The Ministers agreed that networks of educational institutions offered great promise for developing regional stability and cooperation. Australia offers 2,100 scholarships every year to students from Southeast Asia. Australia is now examining ways of increasing the number of Australian students studying in Indonesia, and across the broader region.

The Ministers welcomed the recent announcement of the twinning of Charles Darwin and Nusa Cendana Universities.

Ministers also discussed regional and global cooperation through forums such as the Southwest Pacific Dialogue, APEC, the G20 and the United Nations.

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