News Marise Payne, Peter Dutton in Jakarta to boost security ties

Marise Payne, Peter Dutton in Jakarta to boost security ties

Foreign Minister Marise Payne met with her counterpart Retno Marsudi in Jakarta for security talks. Photo: AP
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The foreign ministers of Indonesia and Australia, Retno Marsudi and Marise Payne, have jointly urged the Taliban to respect and promote human rights, especially those of women and girls.

Ms Marsudi on Thursday met Senator Payne and Australia’s Defence Minister Peter Dutton during their visit to Jakarta to bolster security ties.

Ms Marsudi said Indonesia was closely monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and hopes the country will not be used as “a breeding and training ground for terrorist organisations and activities that threaten peace and stability in the region”.

On Tuesday, the Taliban announced an all-male interim government that includes many veterans of their hard-line rule in the 1990s and 20-year battle against US-led forces.

The two foreign ministers on Thursday urged the Taliban to respect the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Indonesia has suffered a series of militant attacks since bombings on the tourist island of Bali in 2002 killed 202 people, mostly foreigners, including 88 Australians.

The Bali bombings were blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah network.

In the following decade, Indonesian security forces backed by the US and Australia crushed Jemaah Islamiah, killing leaders and bomb makers and arresting hundreds of militants.

But a new threat has emerged in recent years from Islamic State group sympathisers, including Indonesians who travelled to the Middle East to fight with the group.

“Indonesia has a significant role to play as a Muslim country with a strong voice on these issues,” Senator Payne said in a joint video news conference with Ms Marsudi, Mr Dutton and Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto.

Senator Payne and Mr Dutton arrived in Jakarta on Wednesday for the first of a series of meetings with foreign and defence ministers in Indonesia, India, South Korea and the United States to underscore Australia’s role in the Indo-Pacific region, where China’s influence and military power are growing.

Their trip will also prepare for Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s visit to Washington later this month to meet with US, Indian and Japanese leaders in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

China has called the so-called Quad an attempt to contain its ambitions.

Senator Payne described the Indo-Pacific region as the most dynamic, innovative and prosperous in the world.

“To maintain that prosperity and security, we welcome a region that supports a level playing field based on rules and norms to ensure healthy competition, rather than competition that risks sliding into instability or conflict,” she said.

The four ministers agreed to co-operate in defence, cyber technology and countering terrorism and violent extremism, and in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Surging infections have strained Indonesia’s healthcare system as it struggles to roll out vaccinations.

Australia has provided it with one million vaccine doses, 1000 ventilators and more than 800 oxygen concentrators and cylinders.