Opening remarks at joint press conference with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia



I am pleased to be back in Indonesia just four months after my visit in Bali to participate in the ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] summit meeting under the leadership of President Yudhoyono.

This morning, the President Yudhoyono and I had very constructive and useful discussions covering all the matters starting from bilateral cooperation between Indonesia and the United Nations, and also cooperation between the United Nations and ASEAN, and regional conflict issues and global challenges.

I thanked President Yudhoyono for Indonesia’s active engagement with the United Nations.

We discussed, as President Yudhoyono just introduced, Indonesia’s contribution to the UN peacekeeping, the Millennium Development Goals, Rio+20, sustainable development and democratic governance.

We also covered all these regional issues, including cooperation between ASEAN and the UN, Timor-Leste and Cambodia-Thailand.

The President briefed me on Indonesia’s efforts to consolidate democracy and enhance its regional and international role. I encouraged the President to continue this through an inclusive and democratic process.

I expressed my appreciation for Indonesia’s leadership in promoting regional and international peace, security and cooperation.

I particularly recognised with deep appreciation Indonesia’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty which was deposited to me last month by Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on the instruction of President Yudhoyono.

Indonesia is leading the process of making the UN-ASEAN Comprehensive Partnership a reality. I fully support this initiative.

The bond between Indonesia and the United Nations has always been strong. Our ties deepened even more through the tragedy of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. We remain committed to the recovery.

Later this morning, I will deliver a lecture at the Peace and Security Centre on UN peacekeeping.

I look forward to commending Indonesia for its invaluable contribution to our operations. Some 2,000 Garuda troops serve in six of the UN’s most difficult missions: in Lebanon, Haiti, Darfur, Liberia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

For decades, Indonesia has written a proud history of service.

But this country also has paid a terrible price.

Thirty-one Indonesians lost their lives in UN peacekeeping.

I mourn with their loved ones and Indonesia. Their deaths were a loss to the world.

I am deeply grateful for the service of all Indonesians working for the United Nations.

I also appreciate Indonesia’s intention to increase its peacekeeping contribution.

In this regard I have asked President Yudhoyono to consider positively contributing critical air assets like helicopters, which we are in great need of.

I constantly urge Member States to contribute troops and equipment, especially helicopters.

Mr. President, you are the only leader of any nation in the world who has served as a UN Blue Helmet. You understand the challenges we face from experience. My deepest admiration and respect for your strong commitment and contribution to peace and security of the world.

You are also the first UN Global Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction. I am grateful for your work, including your plans to chair the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in October.

I also deeply appreciate your advocacy of critical global issues, including climate change, sustainable development and non-proliferation and disarmament.

I am confident that my visit will strengthen our strong partnership.

Again thank you Mr. President, and I will now take questions.