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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Remarks at DEPLU Press Conference

William J. Burns
Under Secretary for Political Affairs 
Borobudur Hotel
Jakarta, Indonesia
December 11, 2009


Thank you very much Madam Ambassador and I truly am delighted to be in Indonesia, a country to which the Obama Administration attaches enormous importance. The Strategic Dialogue which we have launched today gives us a valuable opportunity to build U.S.-Indonesia partnership on a wide range of common concerns.

During her February visit to Jakarta, Secretary Clinton joined with former Foreign Minister Wirajuda to call for building a “Comprehensive Partnership” with Indonesia. Last month, our two Presidents announced their intent to re-establish a Peace Corps program in Indonesia, and I am very pleased to have the opportunity and the honor to sign that agreement today. We are honored that Indonesia will host the next generation of Peace Corps volunteers. This people-to-people partnership will encourage Americans and Indonesians to work side by side on Indonesia’s education initiatives while advancing our mutual understanding.

The U.S. is also very appreciative of our partnership with Indonesia in the interfaith working group, the interfaith dialog that the AMB just announced. We hope this event will help build cooperative networks across faith communities and civil society in our countries and throughout the region. We want not just to discuss what we can do together, but to produce concrete results. Indonesia, as the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, and as a leader in protecting religious pluralism, is an excellent launching point for these kinds of dialogues. We want to build on the spirit of the Jakarta event by launching more of these dialogues in locations around the world over the next few years.

Part of building our comprehensive partnership is expanding cooperation on bilateral, regional and global challenges. We discussed in our meetings today possible areas of enhanced cooperation including regional security, environmental protection, climate change, energy security, trade and investment, democracy promotion, and education.

Our two countries share many goals and values. Our people are committed to freedom and democracy. A core part of the strength of both our countries is diversity – different ethnic groups and different religious beliefs. We both believe that our tolerance and respect for this diversity is of fundamental importance. We both desire security and stability so our people can prosper. We both understand the importance of treating the earth and its resources with care so they will continue to be available to us and future generations. We both understand the value of good education. And we both understand the crucial significance of building modern democratic institutions, such as the Bali Democracy Forum highlights.

Again, it is a pleasure to be in Jakarta. I look forward to continuing to expand our strategic dialogue and our comprehensive partnership, in the interests of both Indonesians and Americans. And I know President Obama looks forward very much to his historic visit to Indonesia next year. Thank you.

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