Joint Statement by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Tony Blair

SBY Blair

30 March 2006

Source: Illegal Logging Info

Indonesia – (Extract) The President and the Prime Minister reaffirmed their commitment to combating illegal logging, and to work together to promote sustainable development and environmental conservation. They committed themselves to continue the work of the ground-breaking MoU on combating illegal logging and illegal timber trade, signed in 2002 between the UK and Indonesia, by embarking on the EC-Indonesia Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Support Project. They also discussed ways that the two countries could work together to implement the Kyoto Protocol.Indonesia and The UK: Towards A Modern and Dynamic Partnership

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Tony Blair held talks in Jakarta during Prime Minister Blair’s working visit to Indonesia, the first by a British Prime Minister for over 20 years. The two leaders held productive discussions on bilateral and international issues, ranging from the challenges of globalization and a wish for peace in the Middle East to ways of countering terrorism and encouraging interfaith dialogue.

They welcomed the growing strength of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Indonesia, and pledged to work together to further deepen co-operation. To that end, they announced the establishment of a regular Indonesia-UK Partnership Forum to be chaired by the Foreign Ministers, to promote strategic dialogue on bilateral, multilateral and global issues.

Prime Minister Blair emphasized the UK’s support for Indonesia’s territorial integrity, and congratulated President Yudhoyono on the progress of the peace process in Aceh. President Yudhoyono thanked Prime Minister Blair for the support of the British government and public for the rebuilding of lives in Aceh and for the UK’s participation in the EU’s Aceh Monitoring Mission in support of the peace process. Prime Minister Blair also expressed the UK’s support for dialogue to settle internal differences on Papua.

The Prime Minister underlined the UK’s firm support for President Yudhoyono’s program of reforms to build a tolerant, prosperous modern democracy in Indonesia. He supported the role that Indonesia, with the world’s largest Muslim population, played in promoting the mainstream Islamic message in the OIC and other international fora and encouraged Indonesia to continue to lead on interfaith dialogue in South East Asia. The two leaders underlined their shared wish to counter religious extremism and to stand united against those who abused religion to rationalize terror and murder. They agreed to establish an Indonesian-UK Islamic Advisory Group, which will bring together Islamic representatives from both countries to advise on countering radicalism and promoting mutual understanding and tolerance between Islam and the West.

Recognizing that terrorism was an international threat requiring a common response, both leaders expressed their sympathy for the families of all those who had suffered from terrorism in Indonesia and the United Kingdom. The President and Prime Minister welcomed the agreeing of an Indonesia-UK MoU on police cooperation as a sign of their commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms.

The two leaders welcomed the launch of a new modern defense and security relationship to address contemporary challenges, from co-operation on counter-terrorism and maritime security to UK support for Indonesia’s security sector reform process.

The two leaders believe that the recent controversy over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad demonstrates the need to build intercommunal relationships to bridge the gap of understanding and trust. The two governments will therefore encourage dialogue between interested parties on both sides, particularly professional journalists and scholars, on ways to promote understanding and tolerance in society.

The President and Prime Minister agreed on the central role of education in development. They were pleased to note the expansion of the British Council’s Global Gateway project which would develop 1000 links between British and Indonesian schools to promote greater mutual understanding and respect. They also took pleasure in announcing the establishment of a new reciprocal scholarship scheme whereby Indonesia would offer annually President’s Scholarships for British students to do postgraduate study in Indonesia, and the UK would offer Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Indonesian students to study likewise in the UK.

The two leaders welcomed the strong bilateral trade and investment links and the renewed high-level business dialogue launched by the meeting (today) of the Indonesian British Business Council. They welcomed Britain’s continuing role as one of the leading foreign investors in Indonesia and the contribution this is making to Indonesia’s economy. The President stressed his government’s commitment to continued improvement of the environment for foreign investment in Indonesia. The Prime Minister welcomed the President’s efforts to combat corruption and promote economic and judicial reform. The two leaders looked forward to further co-operation in these areas.

Prime Minister Blair and President Yudhoyono noted the central importance of Asia to meeting the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Prime Minister Blair announced a further 25 million pounds sterling of UK development assistance for efforts to reduce poverty in Indonesia and achieve the Millennium Development Goals, in addition to existing UK programs worth over 40 million pounds sterling specifically addressing the MDGs of maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS.

The President and the Prime Minister reaffirmed their commitment to combating illegal logging, and to work together to promote sustainable development and environmental conservation. They committed themselves to continue the work of the ground-breaking MoU on combating illegal logging and illegal timber trade, signed in 2002 between the UK and Indonesia, by embarking on the EC-Indonesia Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Support Project. They also discussed ways that the two countries could work together to implement the Kyoto Protocol.

During its recent Presidency of the EU, the UK strongly encouraged progress on a new Partnership and Co-operation Agreement between the EU and Indonesia. Both sides looked forward to successful negotiations on this agreement.

The two leaders discussed a number of international issues. The two leaders recalled the UN Security Council’s affirmation that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security. They expressed their commitment to continue to co-operate in order to prevent the spread of these weapons, including through their shared membership of relevant international organizations.

Finally, Prime Minister Blair reiterated his invitation to President Yudhoyono to visit the UK at a mutually convenient time, to take forward this important agenda.

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