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Indonesian President Upbeat in State of Union Address

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono gave an upbeat assessment on the state of the nation during his annual address to parliament and vowed to tackle the nation's energy crisis. VOA correspondent Nancy-Amelia Collins in Jakarta has more.

In his State of the Union Address to Parliament Friday Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono sounded optimistic about the nation's economy, his government's efforts to crack down on graft and corruption, and vowed to tackle the country's power supply crisis.

Presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng said rising oil prices have affected the economy, but growth was expected to hold steady in 2009 at just over 6 percent.

"Although we have also been affected by the global economy, we are optimistic because our economy is still growing over 6 percent per year for the last eight quarters, and the first quarter of this year we still grow at 6.4 percent and so we are cautious but we are optimistic about the situation," he said.

President Yudhoyono said he would try to solve the country's growing energy crisis through projects to develop alternative energy such as micro-hydro power, biofuel, and
geothermal, aiming to expand the country's electricity capacity by 30 percent next year.

Population and economic growth have left power suppliers unable to meet bigger electricity demands, causing growing power shortages throughout the nation.

In addition, much of Indonesia's domestic coal is being exported to China and India for greater profit while the country relies mainly on coal and oil to meet its electricity demands.

President Yudhoyono also pledged peaceful elections scheduled for next year, but did not formally declare his intentions to run, although he is widely expected to do so.

The president also pointed out Indonesia's success in resolving a number of religious conflicts in the country including the troubled region of Poso on Sulawesi island, and the separatist rebellion in Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra island.

Presidential spokesman Mallarangeng says while the government had been successful in its fight against terrorism, it would remain vigilant.

"We are upbeat that our records show that we have been able to go after the terrorist activities, terrorist cells, and etcetera," he said. "The president also warns that there is always a possibility [of] attack from terrorist [but] we are determined to make sure that any terrorism based on whatever reason they may be - we will go after them, we will destroy them."

Yudhoyono also vowed to continue to crack down on graft and corruption which is endemic in the country.