Indonesia, Austria move toward broader cooperation

 

Erwida Maulia and Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 11/10/2010 10:21 AM | World

Here we are: Austrian President Heinz Fischer (left) is welcomed by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as he arrives at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Tuesday. Fischer will be staying here until Thursday. JP/Ricky YudhistiraHere we are: Austrian President Heinz Fischer (left) is welcomed by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as he arrives at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Tuesday. Fischer will be staying here until Thursday. JP/Ricky Yudhistira Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received his Austrian counterpart, President Heinz Fischer, on Tuesday several hours before his meeting with US President Barack Obama late afternoon.

Fischer, who arrived at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, was welcomed with a brief military ceremony before a bilateral meeting with Yudhoyono.

The two leaders discussed a number of bilateral issues, including politics, security, the economy, society and culture, as well as regional and international issues.

“In politics and security, both countries agreed to enhance cooperation at the UN to fight terrorism, while in economy we agree to improve our cooperation in trade, investment and energy, especially renewable energy,” Yudhoyono said at a joint press conference after the bilateral meeting.

He said the two also agreed to improve cooperation in research and technology, as well as to expand cooperation in interfaith dialogues.

Concerning issues at the regional and global levels, Indonesia and Austria also agreed to push for Myanmar to develop democracy from within, while there was a need for the two regions — ASEAN and the EU — to cooperate in efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change and global warming, he said.

“We also discussed the situation in the Middle East and how to achieve lasting peace there, especially between Israel and Palestine,” Yudhoyono said.

“We agreed to promote a world free from nuclear threats and underlined the importance of the G20 to develop the global economy, which will benefit all nations.”

At the press conference, Fischer underlined Austria’s strengths, especially in the fields of green technology, infrastructure and policy making in health that all were all relevant to Indonesia’s interests as well.

“We’re happy that [Yudhoyono] agreed to the idea that the ministers for economy and international trade should come to Austria at the beginning of next year to have follow-up meetings,” Fischer said.

Yudhoyono and Fischer also signed a memorandum of understanding to expand cooperation on interfaith dialogues.

“The joint statement and cooperation on dialogue that was just signed in your presence is also not only a symbol. It’s an expression that we hold equal positions,” Fischer said.

“The dialogue is necessary, violence is not the way. Tolerance is necessary and religions must lead to peace, humanity and human rights and not to the contrary, namely violence, clashes and killings.”

During the press conference, Fischer also offered his condolences to Indonesian victims of an earthquake-triggered tsunami in Mentawai Islands, West Sumatra, and volcanic eruptions in Central Java and Yogyakarta.

Fischer, who will be in Indonesia until Thursday, is accompanied by several Austrian ministers, 53 prominent businessman and several academics.

Yudhoyono and Fischer are scheduled to meet again on Wednesday for a state luncheon, while on Friday Fischer plans to visit Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta, Jakarta Cathedral (the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in Indonesia) and Istiqlal Mosque (Indonesia’s largest mosque), both in Central Jakarta.


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