Joint Press Conference: Indonesia-Australia Foreign and Defence Ministers 2+2 meeting, Jakarta

  • Joint transcript with:
  • Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women
  • H.E. Retno L.P. Marsudi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia
  • The Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Defence
  • H.E. Prabowo Subianto, Minister for Defence, Republic of Indonesia
09 September 2021

Minister Retno Marsudi: Colleagues from the media, together with Minister Subianto I am glad to warmly welcome two good friends from Australia, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton. We have just concluded the seventh 2+2 meeting. Our last 2+2 meeting was held two years ago in Bali, Indonesia.

Colleagues, Australia and Indonesia are Comprehensive Strategic Partners. We are glad to see this partnership grow from strength to strength.

I am also pleased to see that this partnership works well even during this difficult time. In this regard, allow me to convey Indonesia's appreciation to Australia for its continued support throughout the pandemic.

Australia has delivered 1 million doses of vaccine AstraZeneca, 1000 ventilators, 700 oxygen concentrators, 170 oxygen cylinders, rapid antigen test and other medical supplies. Together we are determined to overcome this pandemic and contribute toward health resilience in the region.

Colleagues from media, let me highlight a number of issues that we discussed during the 2+2 meeting.

First on bilateral relations, our discussion among others focuses on effort to accelerate economic recovery, especially on maximizing the benefit of Indonesia Australia-CEPA as an important tool to strengthen trade and investment cooperation between Indonesia and Australia.

I am very pleased to observe that bilateral trade increased significantly in the first half of 2021, jumping from US$3.52 billion in the same period last year to US$5.83 billion. We also see from (inaudible) new Australian investment project in Indonesia including in the energy sector as exemplified by Fortescue Metals Group in Papua and Kalimantan.

Second, on regional issues we are committed to be part of effort to maintain peace and stability in the region. We exchanged views on potential concrete cooperation programs to implement the ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific.

We also discussed the situation in Myanmar. Indonesia and Australia are committed to contributing humanitarian assistance for the people of Myanmar. I share information that ASEAN is now on the advanced stage to delivering first batch of humanitarian assistance. Safety and security is critical in ensuring the successful delivery of such humanitarian assistance.

We underline the importance of implementation of five points of consensus. And during the meeting, I repeated Indonesia's position that access to meet all stakeholders in Myanmar is paramount important for the special envoy of ASEAN, to start his job.

On Afghanistan, Indonesia closely monitors the situation on the ground, including the formation of caretaker government. Indonesia continues to underline the importance of building an inclusive government in Afghanistan. Indonesia hopes that Afghanistan is not used as a breeding and training ground for terrorist organisation and activities that threaten peace and stability in the region.

And Indonesia also hopes that human rights, especially the rights of women and girls are continuously respected and promoted. We also discussed, Indonesia-Australia cooperation in the Pacific. I reiterated Indonesia's commitment to enhance its relations with Pacific countries, including through PIF.

In this context, I appreciate very much Australia's support for the second Pacific Exposition, which will be hosted virtually by Indonesia on October, and will provide opportunity for the Pacific countries to strengthen economic, and people to people cooperation.

I'm also convinced that the MoU on trilateral cooperation with Pacific countries, which Foreign Minister Payne and I signed today, provides a platform for a greater contribution to the region's economic and human development.

Colleagues from the media, during the visit of Minister Payne and Minister Dutton, three other MoUs were also signed. Namely MoU on countering terrorism and violent extremism, MoU on cyber cooperation and emerging cyber technology and arrangement on defence cooperation that just signed by the two Defence Ministers.

So colleagues, these are some of the points that I would like to highlight, and now I would like to invite Minister Subianto to share his views on today's meeting. Before I give the floor to our Australian friends. Pak Prabowo, silahkan.

Minister Prabowo Subianto: Thank you very much Minister Retno Marsudi. Members of the press.

Assalamualaikum warrahmatullah hiwabarakatu, selamat siang, good afternoon, salam sejahtera bagi kita semua, syallom, om swastiastu.

Today, I am very proud and very happy, to have the honour to co-host this annual 2+2 Ministers Meeting, together with Minister Retno, and to welcome Minister Marise Payne and Minister Peter Dutton, to this meeting.

I'd like to convey to you that we had a very productive meeting this morning at the Ministry of Defence with His Excellency Minister of Defence of Australia Mr Peter Dutton. We talked about all relevant issues, highlighting the strong Defence cooperation between Indonesia and Australia that is already in place for several decades. We have good experience in the past and even up to now the relationship is very strong. And, just now, Minister Dutton and myself have signed the Defence Cooperation Arrangement Renewal which will be a very important umbrella document for a comprehensive defence cooperation in the future.

And also, quite important, we have agreed to work hard to upgrade this arrangement to become an agreement with a stronger umbrella for defence cooperation in the framework of a Strategic Comprehensive Partnership.

And in defence cooperation, we are also very grateful for the assistance provided by Australian Minister for Defence, the ADF also, in helping us with assistance in the mitigation of COVID-19. As you know, the Indonesian Defence sector and the TNI, we have significant health capability, health services - 110 hospitals all over Indonesia. Which we will increase next year by another 40 hospitals and we really appreciate the assistance given to us by Australia.

Also, this opportunity I took to express our highest appreciation at the quick response, the assistance, given by Australia and the Australian Defence Forces in assisting us when we lost our submarine KRI Nanggala 402. Australia responded very fast, sending a ship to help us in our search and rescue mission. And we thank you very much for this response.

We also are discussing Australian support and participation in our peace keeping operations. Also, Australia has donated 15 armoured personnel carriers, the Bushmaster. And we are also discussing the procurement of more Bushmasters in the near future.

We also discussed under the framework of the enhancement of the defence cooperation the possibility of Australia opening their training areas for the participation of Indonesian units to be training together with Australia in the training areas of Australia. I think this is a historical first and we also appreciate the offer of Australia to provide us with space, with slots, to send our cadets to the Australian Defence Force Academy and to the Royal Military College at Duntroon. I think this is also a historical first, for the first time in history of the relations between Indonesia and Australia that we will send our young boys and girls to train and be educated in Australian military academies. So, this is a very historic moment. We also offer Australia more seats, more space, in our courses in Indonesia, especially to attend Indonesian basic and intermediate language courses at Pusbahasa. We also agree to enhance more exercises together in the near future.

So, I think, I also offer to brief the Australian Defence Ministry about Indonesian programs to enhance and bolster our defence posture in the coming years.

So, I commend Minister Retno and I thank our two distinguished visitors, I think this is important to enhance our cooperation. Indonesia and Australia are important friends and partners in this region. We are close neighbours and we would like to be even closer friends. Thank you.

Minister Retno Marsudi: Thank you Minister Subianto. Now I would like to invite Minister Payne and then followed by Minister Dutton.

Minister Marise Payne: Thank you very much, and to our good friends Minister Marsudi and Minister Prabowo, thank you for your very kind words and for your warm welcome back to Jakarta. May I acknowledge the Indonesian and Australian media participating both here and online. It is particularly special, if I may say, to be meeting here in the magnificent surrounds of Gedung Pancasila and sends a very strong message for us about Indonesia's history and the very special relationship by hosting us here.

We do appreciate your hospitality, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank our officials on both sides, because it is not easy to bring about a 2+2 in the current environment on both sides, but particularly our Indonesian hosts, to you and to your team Minister Marsudi, thank you very much.

This year is Minister Marsudi's and my fifth Australia-Indonesia 2+2 of the seven that have occurred. Since we last met in Bali just before the pandemic, our countries have experienced extraordinary times. And could I say how much I have valued our close engagement, Minister, over this period, as we've discussed the impact of COVID-19 in the Indo-Pacific, and on both our countries, and how we can chart a path forward cooperatively to the economic recovery period for which we are both very optimistic.

As close friends and neighbours, as Comprehensive Strategic Partners, Australia is committed to working with Indonesia in overcoming the shared challenges of COVID-19 throughout the Indo-Pacific region that we share. Our work is done in close partnership with Indonesia, and of course in line with priorities set by Indonesia's COVID-19 and National Economic Recovery Committee, and in its national medium term development plan. That includes through our partnership, the sharing of 1 million AstraZeneca doses with Indonesia, following the delivery of a second 500 thousand doses yesterday.

These, along with Australian support for vaccine procurement will ensure around 13 million doses are delivered to Indonesia, ultimately. And through another $12 million commitment we will work with a range of non-government organisations with UN agencies, community organisations and provincial governments as they continue their response to COVID-19, with a partnership focus on supporting the needs of local communities and health systems.

During a crisis in which the timelessness of support is crucial, we have been able to rapidly deliver and work together on these issues following our conversation, Minister Marsudi in early July.

Colleagues, during the talks today, and during my earlier bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister, we reviewed progress under the Australia-Indonesia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The partnership which is consistent with the principles of the 2006 Lombok Treaty is the guiding framework for our relationship.

During President Widodo's visit to Australia in February 2020, our leaders reflected on the strong progress we had made under this partnership. We reviewed a scorecard on progress under the partnerships five pillars, that will be provided to leaders ahead of their next annual meeting.

Also, under the partnership, we particularly share a commitment to gender equality. We recognise that women's decision-making and leadership is critical to effective COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. I am pleased to be discussing these important matters with my counterpart and friend, Minister Retno Marsudi, a real leader amongst women in Indonesia, but also globally.

And to be accompanied today by Australia's first female Ambassador to Indonesia, Her Excellency Penny Williams and the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Secretary Kathryn Campbell.

Today, we also discussed Afghanistan, and the need for the Taliban lead regime to respect the rights of women and girls. Indonesia has a significant role to play as a Muslim country with a strong voice on these issues. We discussed our Defence and Strategic Partnership including our cooperation on counterterrorism and cyber and Minister Dutton will have more to say about these topics.

I am pleased that we have endorsed two updated Memorandums of Understanding, refreshing our counterterrorism MoU and expanding our cyber MoU, to include emerging cyber technologies.

Australia wants to see an Indo-Pacific region that embraces engagement and cooperation, that upholds the rights and sovereignty of countries without coercion, regardless of their size and power.  We therefore discussed today the Indo-Pacific region, the most dynamic, innovative and prosperous region in the world. To maintain that prosperity and security, we welcome a region that supports a level playing field based on rules and norms, to ensure healthy competition, rather than competition that risks sliding into instability or conflict. And Australia and Indonesia are well placed to cooperate on this vision.

Immediately before today's meeting, Minister Marsudi and I signed an MoU that reaffirms Australia's and Indonesia's commitment to develop trilateral cooperation between our two countries and Pacific island nations, to further support the development and economic prosperity of the region, including related to COVID-19 recovery.

This could include disaster risk management, and humanitarian response, climate change and environment, sustainable and inclusive economic growth, women and children's rights, health security, fisheries, agriculture and small and medium enterprises. We have also discussed today the central role of ASEAN, and Indonesia's role as a leader in ASEAN, particularly on the ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific, and on ASEAN's response to the Myanmar crisis.

We are both strong supporters of ASEAN's special envoy Dato Erywan of Brunei and the work that he will undertake. Our meeting today, such a pleasure to have the meeting in person, has been an important opportunity to reflect on the progress we've made in drawing our countries ever-closer together.

I want to thank you both again Ministers Marsudi and Prabowo, for your very kind welcome back to Indonesia and for your very productive engagement in our discussions this morning. Thank you.

Minister Peter Dutton: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon and thank you very much for being here today.

I too want to start by saying thank you very much to our good friends Minister Marsudi and Minister Prabowo, thank you very much for the warm welcome and for the very constructive engagement and the way in which we've been able to converse and to agree on matters of mutual interest to us, it's been very important.

Marise and I are travelling to several countries on this trip. But we are always going to make Indonesia our first port of call, and I am very pleased to be back in this wonderful country. Our nations are agile, natural neighbours and good friends and our respect mutually and our engagement is at an all-time high.

After World War II Australia championed Indonesia's independence, and since then, and indeed for more than 75 years, our partnership has grown more robust. The ties between our citizens have become tighter, we have helped each other in times of crises, from tsunamis and bushfires to cyclones and now pandemics.

I want to again express my condolences to the families of the submariners of KRI Nanggala 402. I know the Australian servicemen and women who supported Indonesia's ultimately tragic search for the missing submarine were absolutely heartbroken.

We are nations untied by our people, by our democracy, our geography and our history, and our relationship is essential and enduring.

When President Widodo visited Australia in February last year he said ‘in the midst of enormous challenges, Indonesia and Australia must focus on strengthening our partnership. Indonesia and Australia must become the anchors for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region'. And that is exactly what we have been doing during this 2+2 Ministers' Meeting.

In an increasingly contested region, we have been boosting our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. We have been bolstering our security cooperation which is enshrined in the 2006 Lombok Treaty.

We are building on our Defence Cooperation Arrangement, which was first signed in 2012, and indeed Minister Prabowo and I have today signed a renewed arrangement as he pointed out before. It will deepen our forces interoperability and enhance our cooperation. And of course, our navy's regularly exercise together already, but there will be more that they can do together.

Indonesian officials share their humanitarian and disaster relief expertise during Exercise Crocodile Response, in May of this year. And as recently as July, military officers from Indonesia observed Exercise Talisman Sabre, Australia's largest military exercise with the United States.

Our renewed Defence Cooperation Arrangement will see Australia and Indonesia step up our training initiatives, our joint training initiatives, and defence operational activities over the coming years.

We have also agreed to grow our defence education programs. I look forward very much to hosting the cadets from the Indonesian National Armed Forces studying at Australian Defence education facilities building relationships among future leaders on both sides.

Already 35 Indonesian officers, students and their families are in Australia undertaking long-term studies at our defence colleges. In terms of cyber-security cooperation, 16 Indonesian defence officials have completed training in Australia, and I am pleased to announce that Australia will provide 15 Bushmaster protected military vehicles to Indonesia to support its peacekeeping operations.

These four wheel drives carry up to nine infantry officers, there are armoured, they provide protection from explosive devices and from small arms fire. And they can be used for a wide variety of missions.

So, with both our nations still contending with the pandemic, Australia does stand ready to provide further assistance in whatever way we can, in relation to the response to COVID-19 and in our support of the Indonesian National Armed Forces.

Australia is proud to have supported the TNI with two shipments of personal protective equipment and testing kits and Australia and Indonesia are committed to ensuring our region remains safe and secure, peaceful and prosperous.

We will continue to work with other partners in Southeast Asia, building on our existing and excellent relationships. And in so doing, supporting ASEAN centrality in our regional security architecture, and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. As anchors for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, Australia and Indonesia will and must continue working together. Working together and working with others to help bring certainty and stability for our region.

I want to say thank you again to our hosts today, the hospitality has been exceptional. I do feel that we are sincerely with wonderful friends and I look forward to the next visit to Indonesia and indeed I look forward to welcoming our ministerial hosts to Australia sometime in the near future. Thank you very much.

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