News / Asia

No Breakthroughs in Australia-Indonesia Talks

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, second left, talks with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, left, after meeting at Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, July 5, 2013.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, second left, talks with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, left, after meeting at Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, July 5, 2013.
Sara Schonhardt
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd met his Indonesian counterpart, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, for talks that focused on trade and border security, but still made little headway on the prickly issue of asylum seekers.

When Rudd met the Indonesian president on Friday, an Australia-bound boat carrying as many as 80 refugees was floating in distress in the seas south of Java.

Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency later reported that the boat had recovered, but the news underlined a thorny issue between the two neighbors.
Stemming the flood of asylum seekers into Australia has been at the heart of recent debates there and is seen as a key issue in elections scheduled for September.

But Indonesia has resisted suggestions that Australia would tow boats carrying asylum seekers back into its waters.

Tim Lindsey, director of the center for Indonesian law, Islam and society at Melbourne University, explains.

"The questions of asylum seekers and boats arriving in Australia is a very big issue in Australian domestic politics, but it’s not in Indonesia because Indonesia is a transit country. What they have in common is that neither country wants asylum seekers, but for Indonesia dealing with them means letting them go to Australia. Australia’s problem is much more complex," said Lindsey.

Each year thousands of asylum seekers make their way to Australia aboard overcrowded, rickety boats that often sink. Hundreds of people have died since 2009 from accidents on the high seas. Many of them transit through Indonesia, and in recent years the number of asylum seekers entering the country has tripled.

On Friday President Yudhoyono said that meant the countries needed to work together to find a regional solution.

"All sides must take responsibility and perform concrete action. It is not fair if it is only Indonesia and Australia that must deal with the problem. Indonesia has been receiving thousands of boat people from several countries of origin. We have been coping with the problem and it is not fair if we have to deal with it alone," said President Yudhoyono.

President Yudhoyono said he would work to organize a regional summit with destination countries, countries of origin and transit countries such as Indonesia, to find a solution to the asylum seeker problem.  Rudd applauded the move.

Earlier in the day Prime Minister Rudd had sidestepped the asylum seeker issue by focusing instead on boosting business and trade ties with Indonesia, one of Asia’s largest and fastest-growing economies.

During a breakfast meeting with business leaders, Prime Minister Rudd called on Indonesia to lower trade barriers, and talked about how both countries could benefit by cooperating more on beef, a key industry for Australia.

“By 2015, Indonesia's beef consumption of 530000 tons will exceed domestic production. Together we can do more than simply satisfy rising domestic demand and ensure a steady supply of beef for Indonesia, we can help build the value chain to satisfy the markets of the world," said Rudd.

Prime Minister Rudd said Australia could also provide Indonesia with genetic technology to help the country grow its cattle herd.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid