Remarks at the 9th Meeting of The Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum (AIMF), Canberra, 11 November 2008


Opening Remarks by
H.E. Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Republic of Indonesia
At the 9th Meeting of
The Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum (AIMF)
Canberra, 11 November 2008

Your Excellency Mr. Stephen Smith,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank Your Excellency and the Government and people of Australia for the warm welcome accorded to my delegation and me since we arrived here in Canberra.
We meet at a time of crises: a global financial crisis, an energy crisis and a food crisis. We are facing these crises with great confidence and we will never let them get in the way of our commitments to each other and to our bilateral cooperation. On the contrary, they should motivate us to work even harder to make our partnership work. Since we met in this Forum in Bali in 2006, our bilateral cooperation have scored many accomplishments that have benefited our two countries. Indeed, we collaborated closely in the spirit of our Joint Declaration of Comprehensive Partnership of 2005 and the Lombok Treaty of 2006. At the same time, the depth of our friendship is well reflected in the exchanges of visits between our leaders, our high ranking officials as well as between our private sectors. Our economic cooperation has been particularly vigorous. Between 2003 and 2007, our bilateral trade grew at an average annual rate of 17.12 percent. I am looking forward to faster growth in our investment cooperation. In the face of a global food crisis, I am anticipating a significant enlargement of our cooperation in the fields of agriculture and fisheries. As to the challenge of global warming, we have strengthened our cooperation in forestry with a view to reducing emissions that result from deforestation and forest degradation. Over the years, Australia has been consistently one of Indonesia’s most significant partners in development cooperation. I am sure that the development cooperation between our two countries as manifested in the Australia Indonesia Partnership Country Strategy 2008-2013 will help Indonesia achieve its Millennium Development Goals. Our sociocultural cooperation continues to strengthen. In this regard, the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) has been a keen and effective promoter of our people-to-people links, thereby nurturing and deepening the friendship between our two nations. In the promotion of interfaith dialogue in our region, we expect to continue working closely with Australia in tandem with the Philippines and New Zealand. We are very pleased with the team-up between the Australia Federal Police (AFP) and Indonesia Police (POLRI) in the fight against international terrorism. We are so glad that the Plan of Action of the Lombok Treaty has been completed and adopted. I am confident that it will be implemented faithfully and in a way that will contribute to the security, stability and prosperity of our two countries and of our region. I trust that Australia will continue working closely with Indonesia and the rest of the ASEAN family in such ASEAN-driven processes as the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia Summit. Excellencies,Today we resume an important process of consultation between Australia and Indonesia. This process has been mutually beneficial and has given vigour to our relations and cooperation. I am very much privileged to co-chair this Forum with Your Excellency and to work closely with you in assessing various issues of common concern to our two countries. In this regard, I would like to convey Indonesia’s regret that our Coordinating Minister for the Economy, H.E. Sri Mulyani Indrawati could not participate and lead the Indonesian delegation because of urgent matters that she must personally attend to back home. I am confident that today we will be able to build on the achievements of our previous meetings. Indeed, we on the Indonesian side are very optimistic that this will be a fruitful meeting. May I now take the opportunity to introduce to you the members of the Indonesian delegation.……………………. Excellencies,This 9th Meeting of the Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum is particularly important because it takes place at a time of crises and crises always carry with them latent opportunities. Our task is to identify these opportunities and to tap them for the mutual benefit of our two nations. What makes our cooperation even more meaningful is that it sends a strong message to the rest of the world—about what two democracies can accomplish when they work together for the welfare of their peoples. It also sends a strong message that a partnership between a developed and a developing country can be mutually beneficial if it is based on genuine friendship, mutual respect and equitable sharing of responsibilities. This kind of partnership, if achieved on a global scale, can solve many intractable global problems and bring about a better world of stable peace and equitably distributed prosperity. That is why we in Indonesia are proud of our partnership with Australia. I am confident that this partnership will go forward much further as a result of this Forum.
I thank you.