Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Press Stakeout Following Bilateral Meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Shihab
Bangkok, Thailand, July 29, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good morning. I was pleased to meet again with my friend Ali Shihab, the Foreign Minister of Indonesia this morning, and I reiterated U.S. support for his country's democratic transition, and our desire to help Indonesia's people during this challenging period.
In our meeting, we reviewed the considerable progress that Indonesia has made, while also discussing some of the very serious problems that it confronts. These include economic restructuring, regional conflicts and sectarian violence, and most notably, that in Malukas. I reaffirmed America's support, our full commitment to Indonesia's territorial integrity and our backing of efforts to end the fighting.
We also discussed the ongoing problems in Timor, including the need to resolve the refugee issues and disband the militias that threaten both the people of East Timor and the international peacekeeping force.
While the list of challenges now confronting Indonesia is daunting and long, we are cognizant of the distance Indonesia has already come and committed to helping its people overcome these difficulties as (they) proceed further down the democratic path. I also told the Foreign Minister that I hope to visit Indonesia later this year. Thank you.
QUESTION: President Clinton has said he will review the possibility of moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Can you tell us the pros and cons of this move? Why this review at this time?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that has been an issue for some time. We have said basically that it is very involved with the final status of Jerusalem, and I think that, as the President said, it is something that he has personally thought about and wanted to do, but wanted to make sure that it in no way disrupted the peace process. He is going to review it. That is where the status is at this time. I think that, because we'd had such strong discussions about all the issues and I think it was a question that had come up.
QUESTION: Now that North Korea is a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum, how would the United States like to see the Forum develop so that it can get a handle on the security issues in the region?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, we generally have seen the Forum as a very useful venue. While I unfortunately had to miss some of the meetings involved with it, I think that it was able to begin to discuss in a way that was more pertinent to some of the security issues, or some of the potential security issues in the region. We believe that it's useful that it continue to talk about various issues that come up. They had a very good discussion about the South China Sea. We think that is very appropriate. I think North Korea's being a part of the system is very important in terms of bringing it out of its isolation. That is why I was glad to meet with the North Korean Foreign Minister and why I was very glad that my partners in the ARF were also able to do so.
QUESTION: In the talk with Mr. Shihab, did he ask for any form of logistical help to settle the problems in the Malukas?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: He talked about the importance of trying to get some of the troublemakers out of there. We said we would look at how the international community could be of assistance.
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