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Visit to Jakarta, Indonesia

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FA87 30 June 1998

Visit to Jakarta, Indonesia

I will be visiting Jakarta, Indonesia, from 8-10 July, the first visit by a federal Government Minister to Indonesia since the installation of the new administration in May 1998. During the visit, I will be conveying some key messages of Australian support for Indonesia in its time of economic and political reform. Australia has been a close friend of Indonesia - and remains a friend for the long haul.

Australia wants to work with the Indonesian Government and encourage it to implement political and economic reform, in accordance with the wishes of the Indonesian people and in order to rebuild international confidence in Indonesia. Australia stands ready to assist Indonesia and its people where we can, as we have done previously.

Details of my visit are still being finalised. I plan to meet President Habibie and Foreign Minister Alatas. I also hope to meet an extensive range of other Ministers and key community leaders such as Megawati Sukarnoputri, Amien Rais, and Abdurrahman Wahid, as well as with senior economic commentators and the Indonesian human rights commission. I will also meet key business representatives from Australia and Indonesia.

These meetings will allow me to discuss a range of issues of mutual concern to our two countries and to undertake an assessment of the situation on the ground, which will be particularly important in the lead-up to the forthcoming World Bank Consultative Group meeting on Indonesia. '

I am also keen to hear the views of key community leaders and representatives, and to explore opportunities to strengthen our development assistance activities, particularly in support of good governance and human rights.

I will also be talking to the Indonesian Government about the delicate issue of East Timor and will convey the Government and people of Australia’s deep interest in seeing this problem taken forward.

During the visit, I look forward to signing a number of aid related agreements with my Indonesian counterparts.

I also look forward to launching the final volume in a series of historical documents entitled Australia s and Indonesia’s Independence: The Transfer of Sovereignty 1949". It presents key documents giving insight into Australian policy towards Indonesia in 1949, documenting Australia s significant role in assisting Indonesia with the attainment of its independence.

My visit comes at a time of great change in Indonesia. This period provides great challenges to the Government and people of Indonesia, but it also offers great opportunities. Australia stands ready to help Indonesia through this time of change and reform - and this is the message that I will be carrying to Jakarta.

For further information: Innes Willox 0411 414 695

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