Remarks With Indonesian Foreign Minister Raden Mohammad Marty Muliana Natalegawa After Their Meeting
Secretary of State
This commission is the result of a vision by our two presidents for a comprehensive partnership, and the agreement to that effect was signed in 2010. Thanks to this partnership, the United States and Indonesia are working more closely than ever on a range of issues from global security to clean energy and climate to regional trade and commerce.
And today, Marty and I had the chance to take stock of where our teams have come in the time of the last year, because we had our meeting in Bali a year ago. And I must say, I was very impressed. We covered a great deal today.
But before I start, I’d like to say a few words about the protests in several countries around the world. We have condemned in the strongest possible terms the violence that has erupted from these protests. And as I have said, the video that sparked these protests is disgusting and reprehensible, and the United States Government, of course, had absolutely nothing to do with it.
But there is no justification for violence, and I want to thank the Foreign Minister and his government for speaking out against violence. We have to look to reasonable people and responsible leaders everywhere to stand up to extremists who would seek to take advantage of this moment to commit violent acts against embassies and their fellow countrymen.
Today’s meetings have highlighted the strong foundation that we have built together. And one of our most important concerns is promoting peace and stability in the Asia Pacific. Today, I’m announcing that the Obama Administration has informed Congress of the potential sale of eight AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters to the Indonesian Government. This agreement will strengthen our comprehensive partnership and help enhance security across the region.
On growth and prosperity, we are increasing our trade relationship that topped $26 billion last year. Investments in transportation, energy, and infrastructure are creating jobs and supporting economic growth in both countries. For example, the deal between Lion Air and Boeing alone represents $21 billion in trade over the next decade. Indonesia’s Government has announced half a trillion dollars in infrastructure improvements, and we recently signed a memorandum of understanding to make it easier for American companies to bid on these projects.
And yesterday, we signed an agreement for implementing our Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact with Indonesia. Over the next five years, the United States will invest $600 million in clean energy development, child health and nutrition programs, and efforts to help make Indonesia’s Government more transparent and open.
The United States is also looking forward to Indonesia hosting APEC in 2013, and we are confident that Indonesia will come to this role with a commitment to promote greater economic integration across the Asia Pacific.
Both the Foreign Minister and I believe that strong education is essential to compete in a modern global economy. That’s why the United States has expanded the Fulbright Program and supported partnerships between dozens of American and Indonesian universities. Academic exchanges between our countries are up and applications from Indonesian students to visit the United States have increased by one third. USAID has recently expanded its basic education program to provide $83 million for teacher training and literacy programs for young children. And we’re providing $20 in scholarship funding for Indonesian graduate students.
I also thanked the Minister for Indonesia’s leadership in ASEAN. The Foreign Minister’s personal leadership has helped lay the groundwork for diplomacy between ASEAN and China as it relates to the South China Sea. And we continue to support ASEAN’s six-point principles, which we believe will help reduce tensions and pave the way for a comprehensive code of conduct for addressing disputes without threats, coercion, or use of force.
Finally, Indonesia and the United States have stood together on a range of global challenges, from democratic reform in Burma to combating climate change, to working to end the violence in Syria. We are also coordinating efforts to further develop south-south and triangular cooperation, such as enhancing disaster preparedness in Burma and convening a conference on women’s empowerment.
We believe that as the second and third-largest democracies in the world, the United States and Indonesia have a special responsibility to promote democracy and human rights. And for the last four years, Indonesia has hosted the Bali Democracy Forum to promote peaceful, democratic transitions through example and open dialogue. Last year, more than 80 countries attended. And once again, the United States will be sending a high-level delegation.
So, Minister, thank you for everything. Thank you for the great partnership we’ve had between us and between our countries.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary. I’d like to begin by, once again, before members of the media, this afternoon to acknowledge and to thank you personally and as well, of course, through you, the government and the – of United States, and the delegations of the United States, for welcoming us in such a fine manner here in Washington.
I concur with you fully in your description of the state of Indonesia-U.S. relations. It is, as it is often described, a comprehensive partnership, comprehensive – underscore the fact that our relations is a very broad ranged one covering many areas and sectors and fields of endeavor and cooperation. And throughout this morning, and of course throughout the year, as a matter of fact, the working groups established for the purpose of promoting our comprehensive partnership have precisely done that. They have worked very hard and we have heard just now, throughout our meeting this morning, the kind of progress – concrete, real, progress has been made in the areas of common concern, whether it be on trade, on education, on promotion of democracy and human rights, and many other fields – including, especially, and not least, in the defense and security area as well.
What remains for us now is, based on the discussion that we’ve had today, to ensure the working groups and the Joint Ministerial Commission continue to be enhanced, continue to sustain the pace of its work so that once we meet again next year in Indonesia, we can similarly enjoy and raise witness important progress in the promotion of our bilateral relations.
The point that I wanted to make at this occasion, Madam Secretary, is to reinforce and recall and reaffirm the fact that the importance of Indonesia-U.S. relations extends beyond the bilateral. Our two countries now have worked very closely in a very productive and very mutually beneficial way, not only bilaterally, but increasingly within the regional setting as well.
Just now, Secretary Clinton was so kind enough to acknowledge the kind of efforts Indonesia is trying to make in trying to create an environment in our region that is peaceful and stable and thus, therefore prosperous, as well. But is a process, it is a common endeavor by all of us, and I have to say that over the recent years, the United States engagement in the Asian Pacific have truly been part of that creation of such a benign, peaceful and stable environment.
But much work remains ahead of us. We have, of course, the New York United Nations meeting coming up this coming week. No doubt Indonesia and the United States will continue to work very closely. During the course of our discussion today, both in the plenary and especially in the more tete-a-tete setting, we discussed many a global issues, regional issues as well, whether it be in Southeast Asia, in East Asia, Asia Pacific, as well as, for example, in the Middle East, including the developments in Syria. What I wanted to say, basically and essentially, is that the strength of our bilateral relations is one that is becoming even more evident and it is a relations that is not only beneficial to the United States, beneficial to Indonesia, but no doubt I am sure beneficial to the region as well.
Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton, for welcoming us to Washington, and I look forward to continuing our strong partnership. Thank you. Thanks very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Marty. Thank you very much.
MS. NULAND: We’ll take two questions today, we’ll start with Ros Jordan of Al Jazeera English.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary, Mr. Foreign Minister. Madam Secretary, my question is about the ongoing investigation into last week’s attack at the consulate in Benghazi. You are meeting this afternoon with members of Congress to discuss the progress and the concerns that they understandably have. First, there is the federal mandate to establish an accountability review board. Have you done so? Who would you like to see chair it? Are there certain questions that you desperately want to have answered in order to safeguard the safety of Foreign Service Officers around the world?
And related to this, given the political instability and the successes of the past year and a half, are you satisfied that in light of those political changes, enough was done to protect those working in the Middle East and North Africa? And then finally – and this is perhaps going into the area of rumor and speculation – but there is at least one report suggesting that Ambassador Stevens felt that he was on a, quote, “al-Qaida hit list.” Is this a scurrilous rumor? Is this gallows humor when one is working in a period of difficulty and great challenge, or is there something more to what he allegedly – and I stress that word – said?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say I’m looking forward to the opportunity to go up to the Congress today. I will be briefing in two separate sessions, the House and the Senate, in a classified setting, along with my interagency colleagues, as we continue to work together, and with governments around the world, to ensure that our people and our facilities are safe. I will be joined today by the Director of National Intelligence, General Clapper, by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sandy Winnefeld, along with experts from the FBI, the State Department, and elsewhere in the government.
Now, I anticipate that this briefing will cover our security posture before and during the events, and the steps we have taken since to do everything we can with host governments to protect our people and our embassies and consulates. The Director of National Intelligence will speak to the intelligence issues surrounding these events in Libya. Deputy Secretary Carter will brief on the superb support we have had from the U.S. military in the wake of these events, and we are at the very early stages of an FBI investigation. The team from the FBI reached Libya earlier this week. And I will advise Congress also that I am launching an accountability review board that will be chaired by Ambassador Thomas Pickering.
I will also talk about the importance of the broader relationships with these countries in light of the events of the past days. There are obviously very real challenges in these new democracies, these fragile societies, but as I said last week, the vast majority of the people in these countries did not throw off the tyranny of a dictator to trade it for the tyranny of a mob. And we are concerned first and foremost with our own people and facilities, but we are concerned about the internal security in these countries because ultimately, that puts at risk the men, women, and children of these societies on a daily ongoing basis if actions are not taken to try to restore security and civil order.
And let me just conclude by saying that there can be no doubt where the United States stands. We continue to support those who are fighting for universal values – values that we see at work in Indonesia – the third largest democracy in the world. We believe that these values of universal rights, of justice and accountability, of democracy, are there for every person regardless of where that person might live. So I will look forward to having a chance to talk with members of Congress.
As to your final question, I have absolutely no information or reason to believe that there’s any basis for that.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MS. NULAND: Last question. Victoria Sidjabat from Tempo Magazine, please.
QUESTION: Yes. Madam, thank you. My question is: Starting today, U.S. Embassy and Consulate are closed in Indonesia as the Muslim movie become wild fireball, which could be designed as a weapon to attack U.S. by raising sentiment anti-U.S. from the countries which has Muslim majority population like Indonesia.
Madam Clinton, how do you see this threat as on the long run? If it’s continuing happen, it’s – obviously could give impact to the implementation of (inaudible) program in Indonesia. What is the reason U.S. Government closed the Embassy and Consulate in Indonesia? What is your expectation from Indonesia Government, for my Minister Marty Natalegawa? How Indonesia Government respond to the closing of this Embassy and Consulate, it’s starting today? Is U.S. – Indonesia Government has capability to protect U.S. Embassy and Consulate. So the (inaudible) program implemented – could be implemented successfully in Indonesia. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me begin by saying how grateful we are for the excellent cooperation we have received from the Government of Indonesia, and in particular, from the law enforcement and security institutions in Indonesia. We are very grateful for not only the cooperation and protection that has been provided to our facilities, but also to the strong statements condemning violence from the President, the Foreign Minister, and others.
In consultation with the Government of Indonesia, we have temporarily, for tomorrow, closed our facilities. We want to be sure that law enforcement in Indonesia has the ability to do what it needs to do to make sure that there is no disruption of civil order and security. So we are cooperating completely, and we’re very grateful for the strong leadership provided by Indonesia.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Hello, (inaudible), if I may just also respond. Precisely as the Secretary had said, the decision by the United States Government to close temporarily its embassies and consulates tomorrow in Indonesia is a decision that’s been made based on communication and conversation between the authorities in Indonesia and the United States as well. So in other words, it is an informed decision, a decision that is not intended to show any unfriendly intent on the part of anyone, but it is what it is, and it’s quite some – it’s the kind of step that governments actually carry out when situations requires it, even in our case. Some of our embassies abroad, when the situation requires us to have a temporary closing of the embassy, we do that as well. So it is something that is quite regular and something that is actually coordinated as well.
But if I may just broaden the subject matter, I think as our President had said in the past, Indonesian Government – the Indonesian people, even, obviously cannot and would not condone the – any acts of violence against diplomatic premises, against diplomatic personnel, because that is, truly – would be a challenge to the efficient and a proper conduct of relations among states. So that’s our point of departure.
At the same time, of course, beyond the immediate issue of protection of the embassies, we have still ahead of us the challenge of how to prevent the kind of situations where we are now at in terms of the kind of incendiary and the kind of statements or, in this instance, films that cause – that is now we have all deplored and condemned for these kind of activities not to be repeated. So we have a lot of homework to work towards in the future as well.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Thank you.
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