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 Home > News & Policies > May 2005

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 25, 2005

Joint Statement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Indonesia

President George W. Bush and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono today reaffirmed the longstanding friendship between the United States of America and the Republic of Indonesia and committed to expand and deepen their cooperation based on partnership and our shared values of democracy and pluralism. The two leaders held productive discussions on issues of mutual concern at the bilateral, regional, and global levels.

President Bush and President Yudhoyono exchanged congratulations on the successful conduct of their respective elections last year. President Bush applauded Indonesia's enormous strides in building a durable democracy and noted that these successes truly reflect the determination and democratic spirit of the Indonesian people. Mindful of the importance of rule of law in building democracy and prosperity, the two Presidents agreed to establish a joint interagency working group to share experience and enhance cooperation on various justice-sector issues and related issues of mutual interest.

On behalf of the American people, President Bush once again expressed his sympathy to the Indonesian people and their government over the catastrophic loss of life and the material destruction caused by recent earthquakes and the December 2004 tsunami. He reiterated the commitment of the American people to stand by those affected as they rebuild, and he announced that Indonesia will receive $400 million of the total $857 million earmarked by the U.S. Government for earthquake and tsunami relief and reconstruction. The United States has offered to rebuild the Banda Aceh-Meulaboh highway – a 240-kilometer road with over 110 bridges that serves as a lifeline for much of the west coast of Aceh province – setting aside $245 million for the effort. The United States will also work with local and national authorities to rebuild homes, schools, and clinics and re-establish the means for the people of Aceh to return to work. The two Presidents pledged to work together to develop a Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Action Plan to increase Indonesia’s capacity to respond to disasters of all kind. While stressing that the primary responsibility for dealing with the tsunami disaster and its consequences lies with the government and people of Indonesia, President Yudhoyono expressed deep appreciation for the outpouring of sympathy and generous financial assistance from the government of the United States and private American citizens. Recognizing the achievement of private U.S. citizens and companies in raising more than $1.4 billion for relief and reconstruction of the affected areas, the two Presidents welcomed the outcome of the Private Sector Summit held in Washington, D.C., on 12 May 2005. They commended the efforts of the private sector, led by former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, in generating such generous contributions for the tsunami victims.

President Bush emphasized his government's support for Indonesia's territorial integrity and reiterated that the United States opposes secessionist movements in any part of Indonesia. He noted that a strong, united, democratic, and prosperous Indonesia will serve as a force for stability and progress in Asia and beyond. The President noted that reconstruction offers the opportunity for a new beginning in Aceh and gave his full support for President Yudhoyono's strong efforts to promote peace. He welcomed the ongoing talks to achieve a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict, based on special autonomy within the framework of a united Indonesia.

President Bush and President Yudhoyono underscored their strong commitment to fight terrorism, which threatens the people of both nations and undermines international peace and security. The two leaders rejected any link between terrorism and religion and pledged to continue to work closely at the bilateral, regional, and global levels to combat terror.

President Bush and President Yudhoyono endorsed cultural and educational exchange visits and interfaith dialogue as means for promoting tolerance, mutual respect and mutual understanding. The two Presidents pledged to work together to support such initiatives. President Bush welcomed President Yudhoyono's intention to send prominent Indonesian Islamic scholars to the United States to promote inter-faith dialogue.

President Bush and President Yudhoyono agreed that normal military relations would be in the interest of both countries and undertook to continue working toward that objective. The two Presidents welcomed the resumption of Indonesia’s participation in International Military Education and Training (IMET) as an important step. They also looked forward to the convening of the Third Indonesia-United States Security Dialogue in Jakarta in mid-2005 and called for further meetings of the Bilateral Defense Dialogue. They also praised the excellent humanitarian cooperation between the U.S. military and the Indonesian military during the tsunami emergency relief operations in Aceh. President Yudhoyono reaffirmed his commitment to further strengthen military reform, civilian control, and accountability. President Bush pledged his full support in these efforts. Encouraged by progress in the investigation of the 2002 incident in Timika, President Yudhoyono reaffirmed that he would intensify efforts to ensure that the suspect indicted by a U.S. Federal court for the 2002 Timika killings is apprehended and that all those responsible for these crimes are brought to justice.

The two Presidents discussed ways to strengthen U.S.-Indonesia economic cooperation and trade relations. President Yudhoyono briefed President Bush on his approach to Indonesia’s development, which he termed “pro-growth, pro-job, and pro-poor.” He also noted the urgent need to improve Indonesia’s infrastructure and he invited Americans to participate in that undertaking. President Bush welcomed President Yudhoyono’s determination to further economic reform, to combat corruption, and to improve the business and investment climate. Accordingly, the Presidents welcomed the $10 million G-8 pilot project to assist Indonesia in its efforts to improve the business climate. Stressing the benefits of an open trading system, the two Presidents welcomed the resumption of Trade and Investment Council (TIC) talks, after a five-year hiatus, under the U.S.-Indonesia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). The two Presidents encouraged their delegations to continue to make further progress in resolving outstanding trade issues, with the aim of broadening and deepening our economic relationship.

President Bush and President Yudhoyono discussed the state of the world's energy situation and stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation and investment in the field of energy. To this end, they announced the resumption of bilateral energy consultations, the first round of which will be held on May 26, 2005, in Washington after an eight-year hiatus, and called on participants to report back on progress to the two Presidents before the APEC summit meeting later this year.

President Bush and President Yudhoyono reaffirmed the importance of education in U.S.-Indonesia relations and agreed to continue placing a high priority on cooperation in this field. President Yudhoyono recalled with appreciation President Bush's initiative during his visit to Bali in October 2003 to provide US$157 million to fund a six-year program designed to strengthen Indonesia's basic education capacity. The two leaders hailed the initial success of this program in enriching the educational experience of Indonesian children. They also agreed to expand opportunities and improve the quality of higher education for Indonesian students, including by increasing the number of Indonesian students studying in the United States.

President Bush and President Yudhoyono exchanged views on international developments, particularly those in the Asia-Pacific region. President Bush expressed appreciation for Indonesia's role in strengthening the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and for efforts to achieve an ASEAN Security Community. The two Presidents exchanged views on Iraq and on prospects for peace in the Middle East, and they expressed support for two democratic states living side by side in peace and security. President Bush welcomed the intention of President Yudhoyono to help promote peace in the Middle East. President Bush congratulated President Yudhoyono on the successful convening of the Second Asian-African Summit in Jakarta, 23-24 April 2004.

The two Presidents welcomed the development in the Asia-Pacific region of an open and inclusive institutional architecture that reinforces peace and stability and contributes to economic development and prosperity. They welcomed the contributions of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in supporting trade and investment liberalization and for its cooperative efforts to combat threats to regional security. The two leaders underlined the importance of multilateral cooperation and, in this context, agreed on the need to pursue reform of the United Nations as a means to improving its effectiveness.

The two leaders affirmed that the United States of America and Indonesia, two of the world's largest democracies, are bound by an abiding friendship and a common appreciation of diversity, tolerance, and freedom as a source of enduring strength.

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