Press conference, Bali - Joint Understanding on a Code of Conduct between the Republic of Indonesia and Australia

  • Transcript, E&OE
28 August 2014

MARTY NATALEGAWA: (After speaking in Indonesian)

This, very briefly to our colleagues and to you Julie, I'd like to inform the members of the media who are gathered here this afternoon, that this is a very special and important day in Indonesia's relations with Australia, and Australia's relations with Indonesia.

We have all witnessed just now the signing of what is called a Joint Understanding on a code of conduct between the Republic of Indonesia and Australia in implementation of the agreement between the Republic of Indonesia and Australia on the framework for security cooperation or the so-called Lombok Treaty.

That is a point well-worth underscoring, first and foremost. That the Joint Understanding that we have just now signed is part and parcel of the broader Lombok Treaty, which the two countries have already signed. And as a matter of fact it is an implementation of the Lombok Treaty.

Its two key constituent elements are also worth underscoring. The first is the commitment or an agreement by the two sides not to use any of their intelligence, including surveillance capacities or other resources, in ways that would harm the interests of the other parties.

However, apart from a negative list of code of conduct to refrain from undertaking certain activities, the code of conduct that we have just now signed will also make it possible for the two sides to enhance, and I have to repeat, to enhance, the intelligence cooperation between Australia and Indonesia.

So this is an agreement, a Joint Understanding that has two key components: refraining or not using their intelligence activities, intelligence capacities in a way that would harm the interests of the other, and at the same time making it possible for the two sides to have enhanced intelligence cooperation.

With the signing of the code of conduct, of course, naturally, the intelligence cooperation will be restored in full. As a matter of fact it will be enhanced, and there's certainly many an issue for which Australia and Indonesia need to be sharing their intelligence information and resources.

And in addition to intelligence matters with the signing of the code of conduct, there will be a full restoration of communication between the armed forcces of the two countries; for the two armed forces to be able to ascertain the kind of cooperation that's needed in the future. Whether it be coordinated patrol or whether it be exercises. These are tactical matters that our armed forces will ascertain and decide in the immediate future.

But the basic message is that with the signing of this code of conduct, we are back to where we should have been in terms of Indonesia-Australia relations. And just now the President was kind enough to receive Minister Bishop and I, during which we both essentially report to the President, shared with the President, the progress we have been making with our bilateral relations.

And I have every confidence, and here I am speaking personally and officially as well, that Indonesia-Australia relations will get back to where it has been. Not only are we going to get back to where it has been but actually, as a matter of fact, it would be even more enhanced in the future between both of us.

Thank you very much. That's the statement I wish to give. I'd like to give the floor to my good friend and colleague Minister Bishop to also share her thoughts today. Please.

JULIE BISHOP: Thank you to my very good friend and colleague Pak Marty for welcoming me to Indonesia again to the beautiful island of Bali.

And I am also very honoured to have the opportunity to meet with His Excellency President Yudhoyono and delighted that he has made time available to witness this very important document, the signing of the Joint Understanding on a code of conduct.

As Pak Marty indicated, the Joint Understanding is within the framework of the security cooperation treaty, the 2006 Lombok Treaty.

And that Treaty between Australia and Indonesia is an instrument that reinforces our deep respect for each other's sovereignty, and territorial integrity and our desire for our two nations to grow together in peace and harmony in a strong and stable region.

The Joint Understanding commits Australia and Indonesia to not use our intelligence resources to harm each other's interests. It provides, importantly, a basis to enhance intelligence cooperation between Australian and Indonesian agencies.

And we both believe that a strong intelligence partnership is vital for both countries and is the most effective way to defeat those who would do harm to the people of Australia and the people of Indonesia.

The Joint Understanding provides for regular contact at a high level between the respective heads of our intelligence agencies and institutions. And it will promote dialogue and mutual understanding. These contacts are so important as we work together, increasingly, to meet the challenges and respond to the security issues that are facing our country, the region, and indeed, the globe.

And this includes the threat of home-grown extremists returning from conflicts in the Middle East and Syria and Iraq. And we look forward to gaining benefits of working more closely together to meet these challenges, more closely together in the intelligence field.

My visit today has also been an opportunity to acknowledge and thank both His Excellency the President and Foreign Minister Natalegawa for the remarkable contribution that they have both made over a number of years to the bilateral relationship and to peace and security in the region more generally.

President Yudhoyono has led Indonesia through a sustained period of political stability and economic growth. He is one of our region's senior statesmen, indeed he is an international statesman. Under his leadership, Indonesia has won even more admirers around the world and under his leadership Indonesia's democracy has consolidated and strengthened. And I do take the opportunity to congratulate the President on the Parliamentary and Presidential elections recently held in Indonesia. They were among the most logistically complex but it is indeed a great tribute to Indonesia that they were so successful, free, fair, characterised by peaceful campaigning and effecting the will of the people.

President Yudhoyono is indeed a great friend of Australia. And we look forward to welcoming him to Australia as a dear and trusted friend. He's been a consistent supporter of the idea that cooperation between our two countries, which are the largest in our immediate region, can bring benefits both to our communities and to the region. And he's supported the growth of the economic relationship between our two countries, which is so important.

And under his leadership, Australia was able to engage with Indonesia on our New Colombo Plan, which is an opportunity for Australian undergraduates to study, live, work here in Indonesia. And this year in the pilot year, 550 Australian students have come to Indonesia to live and study here, including a very bright young lady by the name of Emma Roberts, who was the Yudhoyono fellow - the brightest amongst those students who applied to come to Indonesia.

So we are continuing to work closely together as Pak Marty indicated. Our defence cooperation, our cooperation under the Bali Process on people smuggling, Indian Ocean regional challenges through the Indian Ocean Rim Association, we are co-chairing a global counter-terrorism forum and a key working group to address these challenges.

So despite some recent challenges in our relationship – and there can be between neighbours, even strategic partners as close as Australia and Indonesia we have proven that our two countries can keep working together across a broad and diverse range of fields.

Australia and Indonesia share a very close and constructive partnership that spans the breadth of political and security and economic and people-to-people ties, because shared interests drive our cooperation. And those interests will continue to shape the agenda whomever leads the government in Canberra or in Jakarta.

So I'm delighted to be here today to conclude this Joint Understanding that will further strengthen and enhance the relationship between the two countries.

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