US and Indonesia Strengthen Bilateral Relations

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In pursuit of strenghening bilateral relations, the United States of America and Indonesia today reaffirmed robust cooperation in economic and development, social, cultural, educational, scientific and technological as well as political and security affairs.

In her remarks with Indonesian Foreign Minister Raden Mohammad Marty Muliana Natalegawa at Jakarta, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton US-Indonesia relationship is growing stronger and deeper.

“The U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership is a foundation for America’s renewed engagement in the Asia Pacific.” -Ms. Clinton

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United States President Barack Obama and Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono participate in the arrival ceremony at the Istana Merdeka State Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nov. 9, 2010.

She says one focus of America’s engagement is promoting economic growth through trade and development.

The Indonesian Government has announced more than half a trillion dollars in planned infrastructure improvement, and both governments and businesses strongly support this commitment by the Indonesian Government, she said.

The US government says Indonesia’s growth, which continues to be so strong, is essential not only for Indonesia but regionally and globally.

According to Ms. Clinton, the US also believes that education remains the cornerstone of economic growth and individual advancement in the 21st century economy.

Ms. Clinton announces that USAID will invest $83 million during the next five years to support primary education in Indonesia, and will also providing a $20 million fund for graduate training for Indonesian students in the United States.

These kinds of educational exchanges reflect the model of partnership that the United States is pursuing based on shared values, delivering concrete benefits for our people, and enhancing our partnership, Ms. Clinton said.

Ms. Clinton says she is confident that as Indonesia looks ahead to becoming the host of APEC next year, it will bring the same expertise and commitment to consensus building and results as the chair of that important group as well.

The United States believes that the U.S.-ASEAN relationship is one of US most important and it wants to support ASEAN unity in this region.

The recent U.S.-ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in Cambodia and the largest ever U.S.-ASEAN Business Forum, which she hosted in July in Cambodia, are evidence of that, she noted.

“As we intensify our engagement with ASEAN, we look forward to working with our dialogue partners to strengthen the ASEAN Secretariat.” -Ms. Clinton

Ms. Clinton states that the United States has a national interest, as every country does, in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, freedom on navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce in the South China Sea.

She reiterates that the United States does not take a position on competing territorial claim over land features, but it believes the nations of the region should work collaboratively together to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threats, and certainly without the use of force.

Ms. Clinton emphasizes that the world looks to Indonesia as the leading democracy in the region as indeed the third largest democracy in the world in promoting democracy and human rights, and both countries will work together on behalf of those important principles.

Both countries agree strongly that there should be no discrimination against minorities on any basis of religioun or communal, sectarian, ethnic.

In pursuit of shared democratic values, both countries are pursuing plans for their Triangular Cooperation program, which aims to strengthen democratic institutions in countries such as Burma.

Ms. Clinton announces that the United States will be sending a high-level delegation to the Bali Democracy Forum to strengthen democratic reform and civil society and to stand up for the human rights that democracies are pledged to protect.

On Syria, Ms. Clinton says bothr countries remain committed to three priorities: putting an end to the violence, responding to humanitarian need, and helping to facilitate a political, democratic transition that will benefit the Syrian people.

The United States is committed to expanding trade and investment ties with Indonesia through the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership and has witnessed measurable progress in the past year.

Two-way goods trade grew to $23.4 billion in 2010, and in the first half of 2011 U.S. goods exports to Indonesia expanded by 17 percent year-on-year while imports from Indonesia grew by 22 percent. Indonesia continues to be a top beneficiary of U.S. trade preferences extended under the Generalized System of Preferences, with $1.9 billion worth of goods entering the U.S. market duty free under the program in 2010. The investment relationship is also gaining strength: in 2009, U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) stock in Indonesia reached $16 billion and Indonesian FDI in the United States was up 175 percent from 2008, totaling $256 million.

The United States and Indonesia also share a strong commitment to peacekeeping and post-conflict stabilization operations, and the United States is providing support to help Indonesia meet its ambitious goals for increasing its peacekeeping contributions around the world.

Since 1957, Indonesia has supplied over 24,000 peacekeepers to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. Currently Indonesia has approximately 1,700 peacekeepers deployed in countries across the globe, including Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Haiti. Indonesia is currently among the top 20 peacekeeper contributing countries in the world.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.