Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee,
I am deeply honored to appear before you today as President Obama’s nominee to be Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia. I am grateful for the confidence that President Obama and Secretary Clinton have shown in me by this nomination.
If confirmed, I look forward to working closely with Members of this Committee and other Members of Congress to advance U.S. interests in Indonesia.
Indonesia is a country of substantial importance to the United States. It is the world’s fourth largest country, third largest democracy, and the largest Muslim-majority nation. Over the past decade, it has undergone a remarkable transformation into a vibrant democracy with an impressive record of reform, a significantly improved human rights record, and substantial success in battling terrorists. Indonesia increasingly is playing a leadership role in the region and in the world, as a constructive member of the G-20, a force within ASEAN, and as a country that has taken a courageous and ambitious stance on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Relations between the United States and Indonesia have improved steadily in recent years. Under the Obama Administration, the two countries have been working for more than a year to build a Comprehensive Partnership, which is designed to increase consultation, communication, and cooperation on a range of bilateral and global issues. Over the past year, efforts to build this new Partnership have resulted in conclusion of agreements on the Peace Corps, science and technology cooperation, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and defense cooperation, agreements that facilitate increasing commerce, people-to-people engagement, security, and regional stability. When the Presidents of our two countries met last month on the margins of the G-20 in Toronto, President Obama announced two new initiatives to promote cooperation, one on the environment and climate change, and the other on higher education.
We also want to work with Indonesia to promote democracy, human rights, and interfaith dialogue. The Indonesians have established the Bali Democracy Forum as a way to promote democracy broadly in the Asian region, and earlier this year hosted a U.S.-Indonesian forum on interfaith dialogue. These initiatives demonstrate the positive effects on the region of Indonesia’s growing democracy.
Both Indonesia and our bilateral relationship are on a positive trajectory, but there is much work to do to maintain and enhance the momentum, and to build an even stronger relationship.
I have spent more than half of my career working on Southeast Asia. In the past four years, I have had the good fortune also to have responsibility for U.S.-Indonesian relations. I have visited the country many times and have gained familiarity with its successes and challenges, as well as with key players in the Indonesian system. I believe that this experience has given me an appreciation of the regional context, the understanding of our key interests and opportunities in Indonesia, and the knowledge of how to work with Washington policymakers, Members of Congress, and advocates that would enable me, if confirmed, to serve effectively as Ambassador to Indonesia.
If confirmed, I pledge to use that experience to work for even greater progress in our relationship with Indonesia. I will focus on building our new Comprehensive Partnership, on promoting increased opportunities for American business, on taking advantage of new public diplomacy initiatives, and on doing all that I can to support the Indonesian people as they work to strengthen their democracy and promote policies that will lead to greater prosperity and stability. I will reaffirm our commitment to work with Indonesia on counterterrorism and security.
I would consider it a great honor to serve my country as Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia.
Thank you for considering my nomination. I welcome your questions.