Yudhoyono Vows to Hunt Down Terrorists

CANBERRA

PRESIDENT Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged to hunt down terrorists and jail people-smugglers in a landmark address to Australia’s parliament.

Calling for greater understanding between the neighbours, the former general said he believed the two nations were “on the same page on the need to foster a more democratic world order.”

In the rare address from a foreign leader to a joint session of the Australian parliament on Wednesday, Yudhoyono said counter-terror agencies had enjoyed recent success disrupting terrorist cells operating in Indonesia.

“We will continue to hunt them down and do all we can to prevent them from harming our people,” he said.

Yudhoyono, who was awarded Australia’s highest civilian honour on Tuesday, when he was made an honorary companion of the Order of Australia, also vowed to jail people-smugglers for up to five years to crack down on illegal migration.

He said while Australia and Indonesia had a strong and growing relationship despite their differences, some difficulties remained.

“The most persistent problem in our relation is the persistence of age-old stereotypes… that depicts the other side in a bad light,” he said.

“There are Australians who still see Indonesia as a authoritarian country or a military dictatorship or as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, or even as an expansionist power,” he said.

Likewise, there were Indonesians who “believe that the notion of White Australia still persists,” he said, referring to the policy of favouring white immigrants over others, which was abandoned in the 1970s.

Yudhoyono joined an elite group of world leaders, including former US president George W. Bush, who have addressed a joint session of the Australian parliament in Canberra.

Parliamentarians gave him a standing ovation for his speech.

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