Developing a Comprehensive Partnership With Indonesia

Press Availability
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State, Secretary of State
Remarks With Indonesian Foreign Minister Noer Hassan Wirajuda
Jakarta, Indonesia
February 18, 2009

FOREIGN MINISTER WIRAJUDA: Your Excellencies, Secretary of State of the United States, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, friends and members of the press, I wish to once again express my warmest welcome to Excellency Secretary of State Mrs. Hillary Clinton and members of her delegation (inaudible). We are honored and humbled by your visit to Indonesia as part of your first foreign trip and visit (inaudible) of President Obama’s Administration.

As the host country in which President Obama spent his (inaudible) years, the government and people of Indonesia have the finest expectations of the success of this Administration. The Secretary of State and I, accompanied by members of respective delegations, just concluded our bilateral talk. At bilateral meeting, we have covered a wide range of issues, bilateral, as you know, as well as global issues of common concern.

The United States is a very important partner of Indonesia. Our bilateral relations have been growing from strength to strength, and we have the basis to further – to strengthen them further. We warmly welcome firm commitment of Obama’s Administration for (inaudible) partnerships with Indonesia and the rest of Asia. I share the view of Secretary Clinton that there exists (inaudible) ground for cooperation as we both pluralistic and tolerant society. And on its own, Indonesia is not only country with largest Muslim populations, but as we have proven here, democracy, Islam and modernity can go hand in hand. And as an active promoter of dialogue among civilizations, religions and cultures, Indonesia will be a good partner of United States in reaching out to the Muslim world.

We agreed to expand and deepen our bilateral cooperation within a comprehensive partnerships, having concrete agendas (inaudible) economy, trade, investment, education, health, climate change, security cooperation (inaudible), and enhanced people to people contacts, including exchanges of youths and students.

We agreed that the cooperation to promote prosperity and welfare of the people is as equally important as promoting democracy; hence, democracy and prosperity are mutually reinforcing. We will be working closely to promote development cooperation to help Indonesia attain the Millennium Development Goals in line with the (inaudible) the primacy of development that Obama’s Administration wishes to promote around the world.

As a developing economy, Indonesia will be affected negatively by (inaudible) global financial crisis, in spite of the fact that we still expect positive economic growth this year. We will continue to consult each other on the extent the United States can help Indonesia in coping with financial crisis.

(Inaudible) in Southeast Asia through ASEAN in light of (inaudible) process in East Asia as well as and of the Asia Pacific. ASEAN is in the beginning of this transformation process (inaudible).

We welcome the (inaudible) United States to see the success of the integration process of ASEAN. ASEAN wishes to see more active engagement of the United States, including by appointing a U.S. ambassador to ASEAN and its future accession to the ASEAN (inaudible) committee and cooperation.

We would like also to see that the United States, as an important transpacific power, is high priority on (inaudible) in Asia Pacific regions. This high priority beginning to be reflected by the visit of Secretary Clinton to our region. East Asia (inaudible) dynamic region, and (inaudible) process. We in Indonesia are now beginning to talk about the future of East Asia and Asia Pacific community.

As there is no (inaudible) architecture yet, we appreciate the constructive contributions of the United States in shaping of the new architecture of the Asia Pacific region (inaudible) cooperation.

Lastly, we also discussed several global issues, such as finding solutions to the Palestinian conflict and Middle East situation in general, and on (inaudible) global peace and security, including the issues of disarmament and nonproliferation in Asia and in other parts of the world.

May I now invite Secretary Clinton to address the press.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Your Excellency, and I thank you for welcoming me so warmly to Indonesia. This is my first trip as Secretary of State, but it is not my first trip to Indonesia. And it is wonderful to be back here. I have such fond memories of my past visits and very high hopes for the future of the United States and Indonesia relationship.

The United States recognizes the importance of Indonesia, and I bring greetings from President Obama, who has himself said and written about the importance of his time here in Indonesia as a young boy. It gave him an insight into not only this diverse and vibrant culture, but the capacity for people of different backgrounds to live harmoniously together. And it is no accident that on my first trip as Secretary of State I’ve come to this country.

The minister and I spoke about a number of issues, first and foremost the desire on the part of both of our presidents and our countries to form a comprehensive partnership, one that provides a framework for advancing our common interests on a range of regional and global issues, from environmental protection and climate change to trade and investment, from democracy promotion to health and education, from regional security, to counterterrorism. It is exactly the kind of comprehensive partnership that we believe will drive both democracy and development.

The United States and Indonesia share more than interests. We do share common values. We have both embraced democracy. Indonesia has experienced a great transformation in the past ten years, building strong and growing institutions, welcoming and developing a vibrant civil society, and at the same time respecting human rights in a successful fight against terrorism and extremism, ending sectarian and separatist conflicts, and working to make the world a safer place for global trade and for human rights.

Indonesia and the United States are both members of the G-20, and we have an obligation to help restore global growth and economic prosperity. Each country is dealing with these problems, but no country can do this alone. And although Indonesia does project a positive growth rate, it is clear that Indonesia needs support from its friends and allies here in Asia and around the world.

We also have common interests and responsibilities when it comes to climate change. Traveling with me is the Special Envoy for Climate Change that President Obama and I appointed, Todd Stern. Indonesia and the United States are two of the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses, and both of us must be a comprehensive partner in the constructive solutions that await. I really applaud Indonesia for hosting the Bali climate conference and to help set the framework for what we will need to do together and to integrate deforestation into the broader climate negotiations. We discussed our efforts heading toward Copenhagen to make sure that we build on the good work that was done here in Bali.

We discussed a number of other specific issues, including how to move forward on Burma to achieve the goal of allowing the people of Burma to live freely and select their own leadership. And I, again, thank Indonesia for working both bilaterally and through ASEAN on behalf of that goal. This was the epitome of a working visit. And let me report a few of the other conclusions that we reached.

First, we discussed bringing the Peace Corps back to Indonesia. And I’m pleased to announce that the Peace Corps will be negotiating an agreement for a program here in Indonesia.

Secondly, we have renewed our Fulbright Scholarship Agreement. Our two countries have signed the memorandum of understanding extending the Fulbright program for five years in the run-up to my visit.

Third, we talked about the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact for Indonesia. Indonesia has earned the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact eligibility status because of its impressive reform agenda and results. And I’m pleased to announce that a Millennium Challenge Corporation team will visit this spring to begin another exciting new partnership to work with Indonesia on its goals of reducing poverty and promoting economic growth. This remained an important point. Democracy and prosperity must advance together. And that is a goal that we share as well.

Fourth, we discussed a proposed United States-Indonesia science and technology agreement, which would provide a framework for U.S. science and technology agencies to work with their Indonesian counterparts. This week, we are providing a draft proposal for the Indonesian Government to consider, and we will be engaging in negotiations.

Let me close by saying that building a partnership, a comprehensive partnership with Indonesia is a critical step on behalf of the United States’ commitment to smart power, to listening as well as talking with those around the world, to supporting a country that has demonstrated so clearly, as the minister said that Islam, democracy, and modernity not only can co-exist, but thrive together. And so I look forward to the deeper and broader relationship between our two countries. Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: (Inaudible) be brief and (inaudible).

QUESTION: (Inaudible) newspaper. (Inaudible) a need to show the Islamic world that Washington wants to open new chapter (inaudible). How far do you think that strong relations between the United States and Indonesia will support the goals of Washington to open a new chapter with the Islamic world? And we still remember your statement in the Asia Society that we want to support Indonesia because Indonesia proposed (inaudible) as democracy. So what do you – what do you think about the area of cooperation that we could go forward (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m very committed to the relationship between our two countries. And that is why we are entering into developing a comprehensive partnership, one that covers all of the areas that the minister and I discussed and that we both have just mentioned. And the Obama Administration wants to reach out to the entire world. We believe that there are opportunities for us to engage with nations that have similar values and visions of the kind of future that we need to share. United States and Asia have a common future. The question is: How will we share it together and how do we make it more prosperous and peaceful for all of our people? And certainly, Indonesia being the largest Muslim nation in the world, the third largest democracy, will play a leading role in the promotion of that shared future. So we are looking forward to deepening our cooperation on a number of issues.

MR. WOOD: Next question, Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post.

QUESTION: Yes. Madame Secretary, regarding your Burma review, there are currently 2,137 political prisoners rotting in remote locations in that country. And the UN envoy has twice been refused a meeting with the junta leader Than Shwe. Why do you think that possibly easing sanctions could influence a regime that is impervious to world opinion?

And to the foreign minister, Indonesia has been a leader on the subject of Burma. What do you think were the necessary next steps?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Glenn, I appreciate your asking that question because the minister and I have had a very positive exchange about the challenges that Burma poses. The unfortunate fact that Burma seems impervious to influence from anyone – and certainly Indonesia and the other ASEAN nations have attempted to intervene with Burma. But we are conducting a review, because we want to see the best ideas about how to influence the Burmese regime. And we are looking at every possible idea that can be presented.

Clearly, the path we have taken in imposing sanctions hasn’t influenced the Burmese junta. But as the minister pointed out in our working meeting, reaching out and trying to engage them hasn’t influenced them either. So this is a problem for not just Indonesia and the United States, but for the entire region. And we’re going to work closely, we’re going to consult with Indonesia for ideas about how best to try to bring about the positive change in Burma.

FOREIGN MINISTER WIRAJUDA: We always discuss the issue of Myanmar in a very open and frank manner (inaudible) also within ASEAN. We are going to have the ASEAN summit end of this month. And certainly, the issue of Myanmar will be again discussed for the initial as well as summit level. Myanmar has promised to organize what they call multiparty election next year under the new constitution. We must ensure that (inaudible) process needed leading to get elections. (Inaudible) will be (inaudible) of these particular neighboring countries to engage more closely with Myanmar. We see the importance of seeing the problem of Myanmar in much wider context, not only upon the lack of democracy and human rights, but concern of Myanmar on emotional (inaudible) to be national sovereignty. It is a real problem for them.

Secondly, on the dire situation, economic situation and monetary situations that the people of Myanmar are really suffering from. So I think together, the international community, ASEAN countries start work together in more comprehensive manner with the hope, of course, that this would potentially bring Myanmar to (inaudible) progress which support the strength that’s been described to many of us, including the ASEAN countries. What’s perhaps positive that Myanmar has opened itself by providing a charter to promote the ASEAN charter, including on the obligations of every member of ASEAN to promote democracy and human rights. We will ask that the commitment and the observance of Myanmar to (inaudible) a commitment under the charter, what they have done, what they have not for a better – something that I think in that context – we did not (inaudible) at least, unlike in the past, we’ll have a creative process (inaudible).

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you. My name is (inaudible). I have a question (inaudible) Mr. Wirajuda. (Inaudible) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as we get closer to this teamwork? So how do you comment on this point (inaudible)?

FOREIGN MINISTER WIRAJUDA: From your first question, I (inaudible). We welcome the past announcements of President Obama’s Administration, which would give as a matter of importance the smart power, power of persuasions and using more soft power, and its recommendation to reach out, not only to the Islamic world, but also to each of us (inaudible).

We welcome, as expressed by Secretary Hillary Clinton, that the early engagement of the past administrations on the Palestine-Israeli problem. And of course, it’s difficult (inaudible), but Indonesia would like very much to work closely with the (inaudible) parties concerned of the United States on how the Palestine-Israeli conflict can be resolved. Likewise, I would welcome, for example, the offer that the U.S. administration has extended to Iraq to solve the problems of the Iranian nuclear issue together. This is a new lines – policy lines that we very much welcome, but likewise on the – our (inaudible) relations you have heard already of our statements just made that need to promote a comprehensive partnership with Indonesia and the United States. This is a complex case that translates in policy announcements of the United States under President Obama’s Administration.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, following up on that, with regard to Iran, your envoy, Mr. Holbrooke – Ambassador Holbrooke has suggested that there are positive things that Iran could do to be helpful toward Afghanistan. What would you like to see Iran do, and could this be one avenue that would open a dialogue with Iran?

And Mr. Minister, following up on the engagement toward your country and the Muslim world, and particularly in your country, would you expect and like to see President Obama visit Indonesia and perhaps make his first major to address the Muslim world here in this country, which is of such important – personal significance to him?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s an easy question. (Laughter.) As you know, we are conducting an extensive set of reviews of the policies that we inherited. Clearly, President Obama campaigned on change. And what we are attempting to do is chart a path forward that results in positive change for the United States and for our friends and allies and partners around the world, and with respect to challenges that we confront.

When we talk about engaging countries, we look very carefully at what that could mean in the context in which the discussion takes place. Specifically, with respect to Ambassador Holbrooke’s comment regarding a potential contribution of Iran in Afghanistan, it is a reality that Iran neighbors Afghanistan, that there are refugees who fled the Taliban, who took up residence in Iran, that in the early days of our efforts to free the people of Afghanistan from the oppressive rule of the Taliban, there were ongoing contacts between our ambassador in Kabul and the Iranian ambassador. So I think Ambassador Holbrooke is stating the obvious, that in order to deal with Afghanistan, the neighbors of that country must be included. Now, the form in which that takes place, the subjects to be discussed, is a matter to be determined later.

But what we are attempting to do in the Obama Administration is to marry our principles with pragmatism, to determine how we can work together with people who care about solving the problems we face in order to produce that more peaceful, prosperous, and progressive future that President Obama campaigned for.

FOREIGN MINISTER WIRAJUDA: President Obama has a very strong constituency here in Indonesia, of course without the right to vote. (Laughter.) But (inaudible) people of the United States for the presidential elections in the United States very closely. And we share the joy of these (inaudible) connections. This government, and the people of Indonesia, would like very much to welcome President Obama on his trip to Indonesia. And I can say that we cannot wait too long. (Laughter.) And I wish that Secretary Clinton (inaudible) with President Obama.

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PRN: 2009/T1-14