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June 12, 2008

Australian PM on a three-day visit to Indonesia

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to receive Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the presidential palace here on Friday, Antara news agency quoted a presidential spokesman as saying.

During his three-day visit, Rudd who will arrive here on Thursday will also visit Indonesia's western-most province of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam on Saturday, Dino Patti Djalal said in a press statement issued on Tuesday.

This will be Rudd's first state visit to Indonesia since he assumed office in November 2007. Rudd traveled to the Indonesian island resort of Bali in December last year to attend the United Nations Framework of Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC).

"Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's visit to Indonesia is of strategic significance to preserve the momentum of enhanced relations we have built so far," Dino said. Australia is a very important country for Indonesia, he said.

"President Yudhoyono is looking forward to building constructive work relations and close personal relations with Prime Minister Rudd. Under the current unstable international circumstances, both Indonesia and Australia have many things to do." 

In a speech to the Asia Society in Sydney on June 4, 2008, Rudd outlined his government's vision for an Asia Pacific Community, especially in relation with Indonesia, the Australian Embassy said in a press statement last Friday.

It said Rudd also emphasized the Australian government's commitment to comprehensive engagement with Asia, particularly Indonesia, as the third pillar of his government's foreign policy.

In the bilateral talks, Yudhoyono and Rudd are also scheduled to discuss the Group of Eight (G8) Summit to be held in Hokaido early next month. Both leaders are expected to attend the summit, Dino said.

"President Yudhoyono will specifically outline the issue of food security," he said.

While in Jakarta, Rudd is also scheduled to pay courtesy calls on Vice President Jusuf Kalla, House Speaker Agung Laksono and Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, he said.

Australia is Indonesia's tenth biggest trade partner. Two-way trade between the two neighboring nations reached $6.4 billion last year. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1949.

Indonesia and Australia signed a joint declaration on  comprehensive partnership on April 4, 2005 and a security pact dubbed the Lombok Treaty on November 13, 2006.

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More on Asean's Trade Partners


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