Friday, February 20, 2009

Indonesia's Foreign Minister criticises Burma's lack of progress

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda has criticised Burma's lack of progress towards democracy, as well as its human rights record.

But he says the international community must stay engaged with Indonesia's fellow ASEAN member, arguing that pressure and sanctions have proved ineffective in achieving change.

Dr Wirajuda has told Radio Australia's Connect Asia program that the regional problem created by the outflow of Rohingya refugees only emphasises the need for an international approach.

"There is a sign of moving here and as a process of course you cannot expect that we can change tomorrow," he said.

"But we are all working and in fact I would say that the neighbouring countries of Burma not only ASEAN have also worked together."

The Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda is in Sydney for two days of discussions with the Australian government.

Calls for Australia to lift Indonesian travel warnings

The Indonesian Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda says he will keep raising the issue of Australian travel warnings, despite failing in his latest appeal for them to be lifted.

Australia says travel advisories are assessed regularly on the basis of expert advice.

But Dr Wirajuda says the there haven't been been any recent terrorist bombings, and potential threats are often exaggerated.

He's told Radio Australia's Connect Asia program, Australia should follow the example of countries such as the United States and lift its travel advice.

"It's more a matter of Australians to decide of course, but it has to be commensurated through the developments on the ground," he said.

"First there has been no incidents of terrorism bombings in Indonesia in the past three years and countries like the United States and Canada have lifted their travel warnings since last year.

"The fact there has been quite a flowing of tourists from Australia it is also a fact, the Australian people themselves decide whether to travel to Indonesia by their own judgement, so it is in this context that we see that it is timely for the Australian government to lift the travel advice.

"Indonesia is one of the most successful countries in combating terrorism so the potential threat was often overblown, our police have been very effective in their task to combat terrorism."

Radio Australia News

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