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July 30, 2008

Indonesia expands defence ties with Australia
Indonesia is currently expanding its cooperation in defence with Australia as a manifestation of the Lombok Agreement serving as a legal umbrella for security and defense cooperation the two countries signed two years ago, reported national news agency Antara.

The closer cooperation could be seen in the dialogue held by the two countries` officials to strengthen defence cooperation especially in maritime security and anti terrorism drive.

"We also discussed what we had done in the past under a cooperation, and matters relating to stability in regional and global security as well as its impact," head of the Indonesian delegation to the sixth Indonesia-Australia Strategic Defence talks Maj Gen Sjarifuddin Tippe said here on Monday.

While the two countries are still facing various problems on their territorial sea boundaries which should be solved through a solid cooperation and coordination like joint security partrols, Sjarifuddin pointed out that the two countries agreed to strengthen confidence and mutual appreciation as well as respect in a bid to smoothly implement defence cooperation toward progress.

In addition, Indonesia and Australia also reached an agreement during the dialogue to increase the exchange of military officers, joint military exercises and patrol in territorial waters of the two countries, exchange of information, and intelligence activities.

The current close defence cooperation between the two countries is a result of the recent signing of the Lombok Treaty by the two countries, Juwono said, adding that Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda initiated the deliberatons.

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda and his former counterpart Alexander Downer, signed the treaty on the West Nusa Tenggara island. Under the agreement the two countries pledged to develop a wide-ranging defense cooperation.

The treaty stipulated that neither country can support a third party who threatened another nation`s domainor territorial integrity.

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