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Tuesday, 06 July 2004

Positive talk with Indonesian Ambassador

The importance of good relationships between Indonesia and the Australia and transparency on all sides was the focus of a meeting between Uniting Church Officials and the Indonesian Ambassador in Canberra recently.

Uniting International Mission Reference Committee Chair, Professor James Haire and UIM Executive Secretary, Rev John Barr were received by Indonesian Ambassador, his Excellency, Mr Imron Cotan.

Rev Barr said the meeting focused on the need for transparency from all sides and on developing a good working relationship between the Uniting church and the Indonesian Government.

“Ambassador Cotan indicated his willingness to engage in further dialogue with the Church on issues of concern, especially those which concern out partner churches in Indonesia.

“He listened to our concerns about Ambon and the concern relayed to us by our partner church the Protestant Church in Maluku that Ambonese Christians as being portrayed as separatist and seeking to undermine the unity of the Indonesia Republic.

“Professor Haire and I reaffirmed the GPM's support for the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia and our Churches support for the GPM’s position. He also indicted he would voice these concerns with official in Jakarta,” Rev Barr said.

He said another pleasing aspect of the meeting was Mr Cotan’s generous offer to make himself available to the Uniting Church in Australia to further dialogue with us or to speak at a meeting or a gathering.

“This meeting was an important and strategic meeting. The Ambassador indicated that he is available for further meetings and I believe this may provide strategic opportunities for the Uniting Church in Australia to be an effective advocate on behalf of our partner churches in Indonesia; an effective educator and a positive facilitator concerning the development of positive relationships between Australia and Indonesia. “