"Combating international terrorism requires our concerted effort."
Vienna, 7 July 2003 - The issue of international terrorism and possible ways of effectively combating it was at the top of the agenda of the talks at the meeting of Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner with her Indonesian counterpart Wirajuda today. In a press conference after the working meeting the Austrian Foreign Minister stated: "The international community is called upon to join forces when it comes to fighting international terrorism. We must make a concerted effort to track down the perpetrators of terrorist attacks and eliminate their sources of finance. I am confident that the cooperation between European experts and the Indonesian authorities will be successful. The Indonesian government’s efforts to clear up last year’s bomb attack in Bali have already brought positive results; the alleged masterminds of the attack are currently facing trial in Bali. Vienna takes a special position in the fight against international terrorism, as the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the UN Drug Control and Crime Prevention Office is the first UN agency to deal actively with combating and specifically preventing terrorism."
Within the context of the talks, Ferrero-Waldner further pointed out that for Austria the prevention of infringements of human rights and the protection of the civil population was an issue of eminent importance, also with a view to the situation in the Indonesian province of Aceh, stressing that Austria acknowledges Indonesia’s territorial integrity and that a solution to the conflict should be found through dialogue.
The two foreign ministers also discussed the developments within ASEAN. As Ferrero-Waldner emphasised, the regional integration of the ten Asian countries had been lent momentum by the creation of an ASEAN Free Trade Area. Besides economic cooperation, however, there was also a need to enhance political interaction between the EU and ASEAN, said Ferrero-Waldner.
The talks finally also focused on the economic relations between Austria and Indonesia. Indonesia - the largest economy in South-East Asia and Austria’s major trade partner in the region - has successfully stabilised its macroeconomic structure and its financial sector through structural reform. "Austria has a keen interest in increasing the volume of trade and the size of investments in Indonesia. The conclusion of an investment protection and an economic cooperation agreement would greatly contribute to improving Austrian investors’ confidence in the Indonesian economy and enhancing the bilateral economic relations," Ferrero-Waldner stated.