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Australia approves SBY’s six-step road map

Publication Date : 06-12-2013


Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and his Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop, held a meeting at the former's office in Jakarta on Thursday in a bid to repair relations, which have been severely damaged by recent allegations of spying by Canberra.

After the two-hour meeting, Bishop confirmed that the Australian government had agreed to the six-point road map, laid out by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on November 26, as a precondition toward normalising the relationship between the two nations.

“We note the steps set out by President Yudhoyono that must be taken in order to normalise the relationship, and of course we agree to those steps,” Bishop said during a joint press conference with Marty.

The Australian minister also reiterated Canberra’s commitment not to use its “intelligence assets and resources” in any way that could harm Indonesia.

Marty said he welcomed the outcome of the discussion, which both foreign ministers described as “positive and productive". Yudhoyono, according to Marty, also appreciated the progress.

“President Yudhoyono expressed his pleasure in the progress that has been made, and asked that further efforts be made so that we can address in full the bilateral issues that must be dealt with. That is, therefore, the purpose of pursuing the six-point road map that he had devised,” Marty said.

“I wish to express my appreciation for the reaffirmation of the commitment by the Australian government not to deploy its [intelligence] resources in any way that could be harmful to Indonesia. Such a commitment is very important and, no doubt, it will be reflected in our joint understanding or code of conduct,” he added.

Bishop and her high-level delegation arrived in Jakarta on Thursday morning, arriving at Marty's office at around 11am. Besides formal talks, the delegations from both sides also had a working lunch together.

Marty had previously said that the meeting would represent only a small first step toward the normalisation of bilateral cooperation. “It is just the first of six steps set by the President,” he said.

Following the flurry of news reports, which revealed that Australian spies had tapped the phones of Yudhoyono, his wife and several Cabinet ministers in 2009, the President froze cooperation with Australia in three areas: defense and military, people smuggling and intelligence and information sharing.

Yudhoyono said cooperation in the three areas would only be resumed after the six steps were met, which could take some months.


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