Remarks With Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Jakarta, Indonesia
October 20, 2014

PRIME MINISTER ABBOTT: Well, John, look, it's terrific to have yourself here to talk and to share (inaudible) very important issues, from the situation in the Middle East to the situation (inaudible) to all the other areas where the United States and Australia have a very, very close relationship. I appreciate the tremendous leadership the United States shows with the world. I'm grateful for (inaudible) today, because I think it's (inaudible) and that you can be here to help honor the incoming Indonesian President. Australia has had a long, strong relationship with Indonesia. Prime Minister Howard attended the inauguration of President (inaudible) back in 2004. And I hope the tradition that's now been established of Australian prime ministers attending the inaugurations of Indonesian presidents, and perhaps a similar tradition (inaudible) established (inaudible) secretaries of state.

But it's good to be with you, and I'm looking forward to (inaudible).

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you, Prime Minister. It's a privilege to (inaudible), and I appreciate enormously your taking a moment to share (inaudible), and I bring you President Obama's strong greetings and great gratitude of him and all of (inaudible) Australians major stepping up with respect to the coalition. As we said when Secretary Hagel and I were in Sydney, we couldn't have a stronger partner, and we're very, very grateful for Australia's consistent willingness to step up and stand for values, as well as (inaudible) that are important to us.

We couldn't agree more about the inauguration today, the meaning of this, not just in Indonesia, but in the region. It's very, very important, obviously: you're here and, while the President couldn't come, he was very anxious to make sure we were represented at a high level here.

I do want to say that your efforts with respect to foreign fighters, which you regrettably have to experience even at a lower level, brings home to everybody how important it is for this to be a global coalition, and for all of us to understand the stakes. We were well served in the last couple of days as the Iraqis themselves chose a minister of interior and a minister of defense. That's particularly helpful for the planning and implementing of our efforts.

So, I look forward to talk with to you about that, about Iran (inaudible), Afghanistan, the DPRK, the South China Sea. There are a lot of issues for us to chat about. So again, it's good to be with you, and thank you so much for (inaudible).