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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More