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NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Jakarta, 28 Nov. (AKI) - Defence, nuclear energy, space exploration and the economy - these are items on the agenda of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono when he begins his visit to Russia. The Indonesian leader will be in Moscow on Wednesday and is currently in Japan on an official visit. While in Russia, Yudhoyono will be meeting president Vladimir Putin, various local politicians and will be speaking at a meeting of Russian business leaders at the Kremlin.

According to a statement released by Eddhi Hariyadi, the director general for Europe and America at the Indonesian foreign minister, Yudhoyono and Putin will be signing 12 bilateral agreements. Particularly relevant among them is the accords on military and nuclear cooperation.

The agreement on military cooperation will allow Indonesia to purchase from Russia a total of one billion dollars worth of arms from 2006 till 2010. This will allow Jakarta to diversify its sources of arms supplies and avoid the problems it faced of a decline in its arms supplies following the American embargo on Indonesia.

The United States was for a long time the principle arms supplier to Indonesia. But Washington imposed an embargo following the crimes commited by the Indonesian armed forces in East Timor in 1999. The embargo was subsequently lifted in 2005.

The agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear enenrgy could also result in cooperation between the two countries for the construction of a nuclear plant in Indonesia.

Jakarta recently confirmed its intention to restart its nuclear programme, which it first began in the 1960s and set aside in the 1990s.

According to the Indonesian minister for energy and mineral resources, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Jakarta will have its first nuclear plant by 2015.

Yudhoyono and Putin will also be signing an accord for the construction of a launching pad for communication satellites on the island of Biak in Papua.

Most of the other agreements are for greater economic cooperation to improve bilateral trade between the two countries.
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