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

Sambisa Forest Stands Between Nigeria, Victory Over Boko Haram

Military takes back nearly all towns, villages in northeast, except for massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers over several states More

Islamic State Recruiting Stokes Fears for Parents in Georgia

Chechens are a notable part of Islamic State's gains in Syria and Iraq, and analysts fear what might happen if those fighters return to the Caucasus More

Yarmouk Camp Becomes Distant Memory for Palestinian Diaspora

Once thriving capital of Palestinian diaspora, after siege by Syrian government forces and Islamic State group, camp becomes 'deepest circle of hell' 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.
Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'i
X
Sharon Behn
April 21, 2015 9:18 PM
A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten. Sharon Behn reports on the politics of the word genocide on the 100th anniversary of the events.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video German Program Helps Migrants Overcome Traumatic Experience at Sea

Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia risk life and limb to reach safety in Europe. Those who have made it to European shores are traumatized by the experience. A program in Germany helps survivors overcome the trauma by giving a new perspective to their catastrophic experience. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs