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Indonesia Australia sign Security Agreement, including non-support to separatist groups


Wednesday November 29, 2006

Somewhat pushed into the shadows by the brouhaha caused by the visit of President Bush to Indonesia recently, - on 13 November Indonesia signed an important Security Agreement with Australia on the island of Lombok. Signing the Agreement on the Framework for Security Cooperation between and were Indonesia’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Hassan Wirajuda, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer. 

According to the Press Release issued by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, the Agreement is not a military pact but is a framework of cooperation and consultation on security issues that concern both countries.  Covering a number of bilateral cooperation that are already undertaken as well as in new areas, the Agreement contributes significantly to Indonesia-Australia relations between nations and governments within the framework of the Comprehensive Partnership. This Partnership was agreed in 2005 by Australia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and ’s Prime Minister John Howard during Indonesia’s President’s visit to in April 2005 and further instructed by PM John Howard on his visit to Batam in July 2006. 

The Agreement underlines the principles of cooperation between the two neighbouring countries, which include: 

 

  • The Principle of Equality and Benefit to both countries;  
  • Recognition and support of each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, national unity, and political freedom;  
  • Non-intervention in each other’s internal matters;  
  • No support will be given nor will there be participation in any form in activities or institutions that threaten the stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the other country, including involvement in activities in each other’s territory in separatist activities aimed at the other party;  
  • Resolve conflicts peacefully;  
  • Neither party will use threat or violence against the other’s territorial integrity or political freedom;  

The Agreement covers 10 areas of cooperation, these are : Cooperation in defense; cooperation in law enforcement; Cooperation in counter-terrorism; Cooperation in intelligence; Maritime Security; Airline Security and Safety; Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; Cooperation in Early Warning system in natural disasters; Cooperation in multilateral organizations; and Developing contacts and common understanding among peoples of both nations on issues relating to security. 

Implementation of this Agreement will come under the supervision of the Indonesia-Australia Ministerial Forum. 

Indonesia’s Trade and Industry News issued by the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy further reports that after signing the Agreement, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda expressed Indonesia’s confidence that Australia will no longer be used as a staging post for separatist groups after both countries signed the wide-ranging seven-page security treaty. 

The so-called Lombok Agreement is now widely seen to signal a thawing of relations between the two nations, after Indonesia's ambassador to was recalled amid a row earlier this year when Australia granted protection to 43 Papuan asylum-seekers.

The treaty - covering 10 areas including cooperation on defence, law enforcement, counter terrorism, intelligence, energy and emergency aid - is the first formal security agreement since Indonesia cancelled the previous treaty in 1999. 

The agreement commits and to cooperate to help prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and strengthen "bilateral nuclear cooperation for peaceful purposes.” 

On his side, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer said that Australians needed to realize there had been a "massive transformation" in Indonesia in recent years, describing it as a pluralistic society with a free press and freedom of speech. 

"If was to be broken up or if there was to be a massive upheaval in the Republic of Indonesia ... not only would that be a disaster, including a disaster for the people of Indonesia, but that would be a disaster for the whole region including ," Downer said. 

He said the Australian government was "delighted" to sign the agreement. "What this does is provide a bedrock for the relationship for many years to come."