Subject: Indonesia-Australia Security Deal Looms

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

also: SMH: Canberra-Jakarta treaty talk signals detente after East Timor crisis; Age: Jakarta Plan Australia's Key to Asia

The Age (Melbourne) Saturday, March 19, 2005

Indonesia Security Deal Looms

By Mark Forbes Foreign affairs correspondent

Australia agrees to shun independence movements as part of a new alliance with Jakarta.


Australia and Indonesia are poised to sign a ground-breaking security treaty this year.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said yesterday that as part of the treaty, Australia was prepared to formally recognise Indonesia's territorial integrity and oppose any independence movements.

He said Indonesia would develop new confidence in Australia knowing that its neighbour supported its territorial integrity.

The foreign ministers of both countries yesterday backed a treaty, with broad details likely to be endorsed by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister John Howard when they meet in Canberra in a fortnight.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda predicted the new alliance would be much broader than the security treaty secretly negotiated by Paul Keating while he was prime minister in 1995. That treaty was torn up after Australia's 1999 intervention in East Timor.

Aside from strengthening military ties and including a non-aggression pact, Dr Wirajuda said the treaty could encompass police links and counter-terrorism and anti-crime measures.

The move symbolises a dramatic recovery in the Australian-Indonesian relationship following the East Timor crisis, assisted by the joint investigation into the Bali bombing.

Mr Downer said the treaty could be finalised within months.

Dr Wirajuda said serious work on the pact could begin once Mr Howard and Dr Yudhoyono endorsed the concept.

"The 1995 security treaty between Indonesia and Australia was very limited in its contents," he said. "What we are contemplating is a new agreement with much broader areas of co-operation."

Dr Wirajuda said any agreement must include a commitment to the peaceful resolution of any issues between both nations, rejecting the use of force.

Indonesia is eager for a non-aggression pact to override any threat from the Howard Government of resorting to pre-emptive strikes to defend Australia.

Mr Downer said the principles of territorial unity and peaceful resolution "sound fine".

He said he did not want a "defence pact like the ANZUS alliance", but a framework agreement that would bring together different aspects of the security relationship.

At a ministerial forum between Australia and Indonesia yesterday, Australia rejected pressure to withdraw its travel advisory recommending against visits to Indonesia.

Suggestions that Australia should free up entry requirements for Indonesians were also rebuffed. Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said Australia would stick with its current visa system which ensured the country knew who was coming before they arrived.

Australia also provided an extra $7 million to strengthen Indonesia's democratic and anti-corruption programs.


The Sydney Morning Herald Saturday, March 19, 2005

Treaty talk signals detente after East Timor crisis

By Tom Allard

The Prime Minister, John Howard, and the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, are expected to begin formal talks towards a joint security pact when they meet in Canberra in two weeks.

Foreign Affairs officials have begun work towards a treaty that would provide guarantees to respect the "territorial integrity" of each nation. But the treaty would not require the countries to consult before military action, or go to each other's aid in the case of an invasion, said the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer.

Mr Downer said Australia would not support secessionist movements in Indonesia.

Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, said in Canberra yesterday he sought a more comprehensive treaty than the ill-fated pact signed by the former prime minister Paul Keating and the former Indonesian president Soeharto in 1995. It would have a strong counter-terrorism focus, he said. "We are contemplating a new agreement with much broader areas of co-operation [than the 1995 pact]," Mr Wirajuda said. "[It] would cover traditional and non-traditional security issues."

Principles guaranteeing territorial sovereignty and guidelines on how to resolve any disputes peacefully could also be part of the treaty, he said.

After the forum in Canberra, Mr Wirajuda said the next step was for Mr Howard and Dr Yudhoyono "to endorse the idea and instruct the two ministers to go together with an agreement".

Dr Yudhoyono has expressed lukewarm feelings for the idea in the past. But considering the work officials have done, formal talks are likely to go ahead.

That would be a sharp turnaround in relations between the countries since the East Timor crisis, when Australia led a United Nations effort to quell pro-Jakarta violence.

Other discussions at the forum included Indonesia's concern over Australia's tough travel advisories. Mr Downer said he would not budge from the assessments after the Bali, Marriott Hotel and Australian embassy bombings.

The Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, also heard complaints Australia was slow in processing visa applications. And Indonesia's Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy, Aburizal Bakrie, told the forum closer economic and political links required more personal contacts.

Australia said it would give $5 million to assist local and regional elections in Indonesia, and an extra $2 million to fight money laundering.


The Age (Melbourne) Monday, March 21, 2005


Jakarta Plan Australia's Key to Asia

Indonesia's Foreign Minister pledges to help Australia become a member of a powerful new regional grouping.

By Mark Forbes Foreign affairs correspondent

photo: Indonesian Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirjuda: "Being a close neighbour Indonesia can play a good bridge for Australia's relations with others, with the region." Chris Lane

Australia should become part of Asia and a proposed security treaty with Indonesia could be a symbol for integration with the region, according to Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda.

In an exclusive interview with The Age, Dr Wirajuda said deepening and expanding ties with Indonesia could see his nation become a "bridge" into the region for Australia. He vowed to try to overturn resistance to Australia joining a new East Asian Summit.

Last week Malaysia said Australia should not be invited to the summit - an expanded ASEAN that could form the region's major international forum - which will hold an inaugural meeting in Kuala Lumpur in December.

Dr Wirajuda said he would argue against the exclusion at a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers next month.

To forge a groundbreaking security treaty, Dr Wirajuda indicated Indonesia would not insist on Australia abandoning controversial restrictions on training with some of Indonesia's feared Kopassus troops, stating a gradual approach to closer military ties would be acceptable.

After talks on Friday with his Australian counterpart, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, both said a new security treaty could be endorsed in principle by Prime Minister John Howard and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his visit to Canberra in a fortnight, and could be finalised by the end of the year.

Excited and fearful of the domestic reaction to a security treaty only six years after the spectre of open conflict between Australia and Indonesia during the East Timor crisis, Dr Wirajuda said Australian military assistance in tsunami-ravaged Aceh province had provided a psychological breakthrough in its once-fraught relationship with the Indonesian army.

Forging a new security pact would provide a symbolic gesture for "others to see that Australia is part of the region", Dr Wirajuda said.

The agreement could provide a "comprehensive framework" for expanded and deeper co-operation.

A new agreement would be broader than the security pact secretly negotiated by then prime minister Paul Keating in 1995 and abandoned during the East Timor crisis, Dr Wirajuda said.

"We are talking about broader security co-operation, not just in the pure military sense but including traditional and non-traditional security issues, such as transnational crime and people smuggling," he said.

Any agreement would need to reject the use of force and resolve disputes peacefully, he said. Detailed talks were yet to begin, but an agreement this year was "within reach".

Dr Wirajuda said the proposed East Asian Summit should be inclusive, "not limited to those 13 in ASEAN plus three (China, Japan and Korea) but also include Australia, India and New Zealand".

The summit could become the key regional body, including the emerging superpower, China.

Australia is eager to be involved in the summit after failing to gain an invitation to be an ASEAN partner.

Dr Wirajuda said it was important Australia saw itself as part of Asia, and was seen as a genuine member of the region.

Mr Downer last night welcomed Dr Wirajuda's comments. "We work very closely together on issues like the East Asian Summit and Australia greatly appreciates Indonesia's support," he said.

Back to March menu 
World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu