Indonesia, Australia sign defense deals
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Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro and his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith signed deals on defense cooperation in Darwin, Australia, on Monday, including a grant of four refurbished heavy transport aircraft from the Australian government.
Purnomo was part of the delegation led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that left Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base in Jakarta for the Australian city on Monday.
The main item on the agenda for Yudhoyono’s state visit is the second Indonesia-Australia Annual Leaders’ Meeting, where he hold bilateral talks with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Tuesday.
“With Gillard, we have a priority agenda that we will focus on, particularly on the economy, which includes cooperation in the cattle farming sector and infrastructure development,” Yudhoyono told reporters at a press conference before leaving for Australia.
Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono were welcomed by Gillard at the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) Base Darwin after a four-hour flight from Jakarta, according to releases from the Office of the President.
Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Primo Alui Joelianto and Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriarty were also on hand to welcome Yudhoyono.
According to the President, the defense deals to be signed include those covering law enforcement and disaster mitigation, trans-national crime, terrorism and peacekeeping.
The C-130H planes, granted to Indonesia in prime condition, are being decommissioned by the Australian government, as the RAAF has purchased the latest model of the Hercules, the C-130J, and six C-17 Globemaster III large transports.
Yudhoyono said Indonesia would pay some money for the US-made planes. “This is half-grant, half-
Also in the President’s delegation were Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto, Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa, State Secretary Sudi Silalahi, Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Adm. Agus Suhartono, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan.
Four governors were also in the delegation: Made Mangku Pastika of Bali, Frans Lebu Raya of East Nusa Tenggara, Zainul Majdi of West Nusa Tenggara and Abraham Oktavianus Atururi of West Papua.
“I invited the governors to come with me because, in the future, provinces in eastern Indonesia will have stronger cooperative ties with Australia,” Yudhoyono said.
Meanwhile, Tubagus Hasan-uddin, the deputy chairman of House Commission I overseeing defense and foreign affairs, said that Yudhoyono must use the bilateral talks to get the most benefit for Indonesia.