Media conference with Indonesian Foreign Minister Natalegawa

Subjects: Steps towards normalisation of the relationship.

Gedung Pancasila, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jakarta

Transcript, E&OE, proof only

5 December 2013

MINISTER NATALEGAWA: (Indonesian greeting). A very good afternoon to all colleagues. I will speak first in English and I'm going to begin by handing over the floor to my good friend and colleague Minister Bishop.

But let me just by way of very brief opening remarks mention how pleased we are to be able to welcome Minister Bishop to Jakarta today for what has been a very constructive and very productive discussion. And I will leave it at that first and give the floor to you Minister Bishop and then I will share my own thoughts after listening to yours first. Please.

MINISTER BISHOP: Thank you Foreign Minister Natalegawa. I'm absolutely delighted to have this opportunity to be back in Jakarta to meet with you. It is indeed my fourth visit to Indonesia since I was appointed the Foreign Minister of Australia on the 18th September. And we have met on many other occasions in multilateral fora around the world. So this is probably our eighth or ninth meeting and on each occasion, today included, our meetings have been productive and fruitful and always exceedingly cordial. And for that I thank you.

We did in fact agree today that we would continue to meet regularly and maintain regular contact in relation to the wide range of issues that bind our two nations together. And we both expressed our commitment to restoring the relationship and building it to its fullest potential. It is a strategic partnership now and we want to build now on the economic and strategic, diplomatic, defence and cultural ties that bind our two nations. And we're particularly keen to enhance the people-to-people links that underpin our comprehensive bilateral relationship.

We note the steps set out by President Yudhoyono that must be taken in order to normalise the relationship and, of course, we agree to adhere to those steps. And we are pleased that our cooperation will continue in areas such as economic and financial fields, in education, in trade and investment. Of course there is such a broad range of areas of engagement. I think that at last count there are about 22 Australian government departments and agencies engaged with a similar number of Indonesian government departments and agencies addressing about 60 different fields of endeavour between our countries.

In relation to the areas of cooperation that are temporarily suspended, as set out by President Yudhoyono, we have agreed to establish a special communications channel, a hotline if you like, to ensure that we can resolve any issues in implementation, that we can avoid any unintended consequences. And I believe that's an appropriate way forward and I'm grateful to Foreign Minister Natalegawa for that suggestion.

Obviously, we regret the events that led to this situation. We regret the hurt caused to President Yudhoyono and to the Indonesian people. As Prime Minister Abbott has said, and I reiterate, the Abbott Government will not undertake any act or use our assets and resources, including intelligence assets, in any way to harm Indonesia. And that is a commitment that Prime Minister Abbott gave and I reiterate.

I am pleased that we have reached a good understanding about the next steps. President Yudhoyono set out a road map and this is the first step. It is now up to Foreign Minister Natalegawa and me to report back to our respective leaders which we will do. And then we will work together, and continue to work together, to take the next steps which are to seek, to develop, a joint understanding as indicated by President Yudhoyono.

To encapsulate the principles exposed in the Lombok Treaty, a treaty that was signed between our two countries in 2006, a treaty that sets out our focus and respect for each other's sovereignty and sets out the shared vision that we have for our relationship. And that is what we hope to do under a joint understanding. To focus on the broad range of areas of cooperation, on the importance of this bilateral relationship, the significance of it to both countries, and to ensure that we can take this relationship to the next level of trust and mutual understanding.

I thank the Foreign Minister for his hospitality today.

MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Thank you very much Minister Bishop. I'll say a few words as well. First in English and then in Bahasa Indonesian.

Let me being once again in expressing how pleased we are with being able to welcome once again Minister Bishop to Indonesia, to Jakarta. Today our meeting… our meeting today reflects the very strong bilateral relations which Indonesia and Australia clearly enjoy, even when we are encountering some challenges and difficulties, it becomes even more important for our two sides, for the Foreign Ministers, to be able to communicate so that we can identify what are the issues and find ways and means to be able to address those issues.

Both of us throughout the course of today's meeting reinforced our recognition of the importance of our bilateral relations. This is obviously a sentiment which has also been expressed by the Prime Minister, as well as by the President of Indonesia.

Prior to my meeting with Minister Bishop today I have been of course receiving the instruction of the President to receive Minister Bishop as part of the implementation of the first step of the six point road map that our President had outlined on the 26th November. And just now prior to this press conference I had reported to him as well, Julie, about our conversation that we had just now undertaken. And essentially the President expressed his pleasure that we have been able to communicate today and he is pleased by the progress which has been made and asked that further efforts be made that we can address in full all the various issues, bilateral issues, that must be addressed and therefore in this connection to pursue the six point plan, or six point road map, that he had mentioned.

I wish to express as well our appreciation for the very important reaffirmation just now, which we had heard again this time from Minister Bishop, something that had been expressed by the Prime Minister as well on the commitment by the Australian Government of Prime Minister Abbott not to use, to deploy or employ, its resources in any way that is harmful to Indonesia. Such a commitment is very important and no doubt will be reflected in the Joint Understanding, or in the Code of Conduct, or however we wish to call it that we are going to work on in the subsequent stage.

We have also noted the sentiments expressed to the incidents at that level to where we are today and those are very important and pertinent sentiments as well. Ahead of us (are) a number of well-defined sequence of steps that we must pursue.

As Minister Bishop just mentioned now we will both be reporting, in Minister Bishop's case to the Prime Minister, myself to the President, on what steps to take next in terms of further managing our bilateral relations. And the three suspensions of the three areas of cooperation remains pending the full pursuit of the six points.

But at the same time, as just now Minister Bishop had mentioned, we had agreed to have a good system of communication so that we are able to fully involve one another and anticipate the kind of technical or other impact following on from the temporary suspension of the three areas of cooperation.

So there will be more discussions to come and no doubt Minister Bishop, I would like to thank you very, very much for being here with us for much of today. I know you have a very busy schedule ahead of you for further trips elsewhere. I look forward to continuing on our constant communication so that we can move forward the implementation of the pursuit of the six point road map as I have just now mentioned.

Just very quickly if I may Minister Bishop in Bahasa. Just very quickly... Saya pertama ingin mengucapkan banyak terima kasih kepada teman-teman dari media massa yang bersama dengan kita pada pagi dan siang hari ini.

(Unofficial translation: I first want to say a big thank you to our friends from the media who have been with us in the morning and this afternoon.)

Pada siang hari ini kami mendapat kehormatan menerima kunjungan Menteri Luar Negeri Australia, Ibu Julie Bishop, sebagai wujud dari tekad kedua Negara untuk senantiasa menjalin hubungan yang baik dan saling menghormati dan sesuai dengan kepentingan nasional dan kepentingan bersama kedua Negara.

(Unofficial translation: This afternoon we had the honour of receiving the visit by the Australian Foreign Minister, Ms Julie Bishop, as a manifestation of the determination of both countries to continue to establish good relations and mutual respect and in accordance with national interests and the common interests of both countries.)

Sebelum pertemuan hari ini kami tentu telah menerima instruksi dari Bapak Presiden karena pertemuan ini tidak lain adalah implementasi dari tahapan pertama dari enam tahapan yang disebutkan Bapak Presiden pada tanggal 26 November yang lalu. Dan dalam pertemuan tadi kita menggarisbawahi dan memahami betapa pentingnya hubungan bilateral kedua Negara.

(Unofficial translation: Prior to today's meeting I have received instructions from the President because this meeting is nothing but the implementation of the first stage of the six stages mentioned by the President on 26 November. And in the meeting we underlined and understood how important the bilateral relationship of the two countries.)

Disamping itu juga kita bahas Indonesia menyambut baik adanya komitmen dari Pemerintah Perdana Menteri Abbott untuk tidak melakukan apapun juga yang merugikan atau mengganggu kepentingan Indonesia. Disamping tentunya tadi ungkapan tentang sentimen atau rasa penyesalan Australia tentang insiden yang telah mengarah ke situasi saat ini. Yang penting kedepannya sesuai arahan Bapak Presiden yang menyambut baik perkembangan pertemuan hari ini. Harus ada pembahasan-pembahasan selanjutnya, untuk selanjutnya kita mulai berbicara tentang masuk ke tahapan kedua dalam six point roadmap yang telah diumumkan oleh Bapak Presiden.

(Unofficial translation: Other than that, we also discussed, Indonesia welcomed the commitment of the Government of Prime Minister Abbott for not doing anything that would disadvantage or interfere with Indonesia's interests. In addition, [we also discussed] the earlier expression of Australia's sentiment or regret about the incident that has led to the current situation. What is important is going forward, as directed by the President, who welcomed the development of today's meeting. There should be further discussions, to start talking about getting into the second stage of the six -point roadmap that has been announced by the President.)

Jadi intinya ini adalah awal dari suatu upaya saya yakin dalam beberapa hari kedepan akan ada terus kerjasama komunikasi yang baik. Khusus mengenai tiga bidang kerjasama yang ditangguhkan pelaksanaannya tentu ini tetap demikian halnya namun tadi juga sepakat sementara penangguhan itu dilakukan akan ada komunikasi antara kedua belah pihak untuk memastikan hal-hal yang muncul sebagai akibat dari penangguhan kerjasama tersebut bisa dikomunikasikan dengan baik antara kedua Negara.

(Unofficial translation: So basically this is the beginning of an effort which I'm sure will continue good cooperation in communication in the next few days. Especially with regard to the three areas of cooperation which are suspended, it's still the case, but it was also agreed that while the suspension is done there will be communications between the two sides to make sure the things that emerged as a result of the suspension can be communicated between the two countries.)

That's what I wish to share this afternoon, once again Minister Bishop thank you very much for being with me in Jakarta for today and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Thanks very much.

- Ends -

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