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Major regional dialogue partners of ASEAN, such as Australia, are watching closely to see how Indonesia exercises its leadership in ASEAN as the country begins to chair the group this month. Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriarty expressed optimism that under Indonesia, ASEAN could enhance the grouping’s role in regional and global arenas, stating that Indonesia’s vision of global architecture matched Australia’s. “Our aspirations match Indonesia’s own aspirations. We [see]Indonesia’s increasing confidence and leadership role as positive and matches Australia’s interests. “We see Indonesia’s foreign policy activism as a positive sign,” he told The Jakarta Post recently. Australia, Moriarty said, acknowledged Indonesia’s recent foreign policy track record as impressive, including the country’s instrumental role in shaping the evolution of the East Asia Summit (EAS), exercising leadership in climate change forums and playing a significant role in the G20 agenda. “Indonesia has been playing a clever role in keeping ASEAN’s interests very central in the process of building the regional architecture,” he said. The EAS comprises the 10 ASEAN states and 6 dialogue partners: China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. Leaders of the 16 countries meet annually to discuss regional and global issues in one of the ASEAN countries. Beginning this year, the US and Russia will formally join the forum, which will be held in Indonesia. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced his intention to get ASEAN more involved in tackling global problems during Indonesia’s chairmanship of ASEAN. During the ASEAN Summit in Hanoi last year, he proposed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a more comprehensive cooperation between ASEAN and the UN so the 10-member group could be involved in more areas to help the world body solve global problems. “We want to be more involved in a range of issues the UN handles, such as human rights and development, and achieving MDGs,” Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said on the sidelines of the meeting. Moriarty cited Indonesia’s success in hosting the Bali Democracy Forum as proof of President Yudhoyono’s leadership in the region and beyond. “An initiative such as the Bali Democracy Forum is a very important event. It shows Indonesia can lead a global dialogue in democracy.” Diplomats from major dialogue partners in ASEAN in Jakarta said they were also convinced Jakarta would lead ASEAN in crucial roles to tackle global problems. “It’s about how confidently Jakarta plays its role. Others will follow what Jakarta proposes as we respect Indonesia all along,” a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said recently. Pakistani Ambassador to Indonesia Sanaullah also supported the view that Indonesia could lead ASEAN to achieve its goals and play an important role in helping solve global problems. News Source : The Jakarta Post Photo Source : presiden ri
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