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Visit to Indonesia for ASEAN meetings.



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MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER FA95 30 June 2004

VISIT TO INDONESIA FOR ASEAN MEETINGS

I will visit Jakarta from 30 June to 2 July to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference

A focus of my talks with ASEAN Ministers will be the proposed summit and free trade agreement between ASEAN and Australia/New Zealand. Those proposals underline the deep and substantial nature of our relationships.

This year’s ASEAN meetings have an added significance for Australia as we commemorate the 30th anniversary of our dialogue partnership. The first formal talks in 1974 brought together Australia and ASEAN’s then-five members in ASEAN’s first dialogue partnership.

Initially focused on development cooperation, the dialogue has expanded to cover regional issues such as cooperation in combating terrorism, people smuggling and people trafficking; the World Trade Organisation; ways to increase cooperation in the fight against diseases such as HIV/AIDS and SARS; and other topics of global significance.

As the region’s most important multilateral security forum, this year’s ARF meeting is expected to endorse stronger measures to meet the critical challenge of countering the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

With North Korea’s weapons program continuing to threaten the security of the region, I will urge North Korea to grasp the opportunity presented by the third round of six-party talks in Beijing on 23-26 June. It is important that North Korea is encouraged to renounce nuclear weapons and re-engage with the international community.

I also look forward to ARF’s adoption of a statement on Combating International Terrorism in Transport Security as a clear expression of the Forum’s resolve.

Apart from a holding series of significant bilateral meetings with my counterparts from a range of significant countries, I will also meet with several leading Muslim representatives to enhance the Government’s engagement with mainstream Muslim groups in Indonesia.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

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