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Minister concludes Australia-Indonesia defence talks.

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The Hon. John Moore, MP 

Minister for Defence


Friday 27 November 1998

MIN 228/98

Minister Concludes Australia-Indonesia Defence Talks

The Minister for Defence, John Moore, met in Surabaya today with Indonesian Minister for Defence, Gen eral Wiranto and other Indonesian defence officials, for annual bilateral talks on defence and security issues.

The talks with General Wiranto focussed on strategic perspectives of the Asia-Pacific region, prospects for regional cooperation, the countries’ respective reform programmes, Australia-Indonesia defence cooperation, as well as priorities for the future.

"Australia recognises Indonesia as our most important strategic relationship in Southeast Asia," Mr Moore said. "It is our closest Southeast Asian neighbour and its size and population mean it has a significant role in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole."

Mr Moore also announced that the respective Chiefs of the Australian and Indonesian armed forces will next year hold a conference aimed at exploring the theme of ‘Roles and Responsibilities of the Military in the 21 st Century’.

"The Conference will represent the first time that our Chiefs and senior defence leaders will have met in a forum such as this to discuss our long-term vision for our respective military institutions," said Mr Moore.

Although ABRI is currently undergoing a significant re-evaluation of its role in national life, it remains and will continue to be a key institution within the framework of the Indonesian Government.

"Australia’s policies are directed toward enhancing ABRI’s openness toward new concepts of civil-military relations. This includes a broad-ranging discussion on the impact of global trends in economic affairs, education and technology, on the future shape of defence forces.

"The defence relationship benefits both our countries by ensuring better mutual understanding of strategic perceptions as well as providing opportunities to develop and improve professionalism in each other’s armed forces.

"Australia is committed to providing assistance through the strong bilateral defence relationship, to help ABRI become a modern, disciplined and professional Defence Force."

Mr Moore said that a highlight of Australian-Indonesian defence cooperation in 1998 was the ten week relief operation in Irian Jaya.

"During this operation the ADF Blackhawks flew 322 sorties, transporting 227 personnel and approximately 361,000kg of relief materials to various districts in Irian Jaya. This cooperation successfully showed that our shared professionalism and goodwill could be directed toward the achievement of significant goals," Mr Moore said.

The next annual Defence Ministers’ Meeting, to be held in Australian in November 1999, will further review and set the broad direction for the bilateral relationship.

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