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Cablegate: Indonesia Hosts Inaugural Bali Democracy Forum

VZCZCXRO6220
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #2266/01 3501033
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151033Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0986
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 1420
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 5238
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 3412
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 3337
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 2515
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2855
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5737
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 1493
RUEHUM/AMEMBASSY ULAANBAATAR 0120
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0296
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 1508
RUEHDO/AMEMBASSY DOHA 0093
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 0506
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0075
RUEHKU/AMEMBASSY KUWAIT 0460
RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU 0014
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0170
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 0057
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 4128
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 0091
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2047
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 3462
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0180
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0911
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 1340
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 3166
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JAKARTA 002266

SIPDIS

DEPT. FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, DRL FOR CCAMPONOVO, S/P,
DRL; G
NSC FOR EPHU, PLETTOW

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KDEM XB XD XF
SUBJECT: INDONESIA HOSTS INAUGURAL BALI DEMOCRACY FORUM
MEETING

REF: JAKARTA 2170 AND PREVIOUS

JAKARTA 00002266 001.2 OF 003


1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified -- Please
handle accordingly.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Indonesia hosted the inaugural meeting of
the Bali Democracy Forum (BDF), December 10-11. The event
was attended by 32 Asian countries, and seven observer
countries from Europe and North America. The U.S. was
represented by the Ambassador.

3. (SBU) SUMMARY (Con'd): The GOI set the tone for the
discussions, presenting ideas on how to promote regional
democracy. Indonesia's foreign minister clearly enunciated
the need for BDF to reflect liberal democratic values, and
not just Asian values proposed by some countries. The
Institute for Peace and Democracy established under the BDF
has received sufficient funding to begin concrete
democracy-building programs. The GOI is interested in
linking BDF to the USG's Asia Pacific Democracy Partnership
initiative through joint training activities. END SUMMARY.

INDONESIAN PRESIDENT KICKS OFF BDF

4. (SBU) Indonesia hosted the inaugural meeting of the Bali
Democracy Forum, December 10-11. President Yudhoyono
described BDF in his opening remarks as the "first
inter-governmental forum in Asia about democracy." Noting
that Indonesia's own road to democracy was difficult, he
emphasized that "we overcame" and "as a result, Indonesia
today is better, stronger and more united." He added, "I do
not believe in the notion that democracy is not for Asia."

SOLID PARTICIPATION

5. (SBU) The inaugural meeting was co-chaired by Australian
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Thirty-two Asian countries
participated--from Kazakhstan to New Zealand and Timor Leste
(Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao) to Syria (represented by its
Charge). Four heads of state attended, including the Sultan
of Brunei, along with many ministers. The U.S. and six
other Western countries attended as observers. Ambassador
Hume attended the opening session, along with a
representative from DRL who attended the entire conference.
Umar Hadi, a key advisor to Foreign Minister Yudhoyono and
the conference's main organizer, told DepPol/C that President
Yudhoyono noted positively the "strong" U.S. representation
at an event in which it was an observer.

INDONESIA STRESSES DEMOCRATIC VALUES

6. (SBU) Many of the remarks at the meeting were platitudes
on each country's distinct notion of democracy: China on
"socialist democracy," Singapore on rule-of-law, Malaysia on
"Asian values," and so forth. Others, such as the Maldives,

JAKARTA 00002266 002.2 OF 003


Timor Leste and Mongolia made pleas for practical help in
bolstering their own fledgling systems. Indonesia, the
Philippines and Australia kept the discussion grounded in
more widely accepted democratic values, Indonesia being the
most outspoken. One of Burma's deputy foreign ministers (U
Kyaw Thu) attended but bowed out of the opportunity to make
remarks. China's head of delegation was Yang Wenchang,
President of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign
Affairs.

7. (SBU) The Indonesian hosts were very active. Foreign
Minister Wirajuda and two Indonesian participants--senior
Parliamentarian Theo Sambuaga and prominent think tanker Dewi
Fortuna Anwar--all advocated for liberal democratic values.
Wirajuda, who ran the proceedings, related that although
Indonesia's economy grew strongly under authoritarianism, the
system was not sustainable because of lack of political
development. Sambuaga cited "civil liberties, equality and
tolerance" as bedrock democratic principles. Dewi Fortuna
Anwar pointed out at the end of the conference that future
meetings need to include civil society. Participants need to
honestly talk about their shortcomings in order for there to
be a meaningful dialogue, she added. Most significantly,
Wirajuda supported his Indonesian colleagues while politely
refuting closing statements by Singapore, China, and Malaysia
which had emphasized "common Asian values." Wirajuda
affirmed, "We do have a set of common values although we
cannot ignore each of our own traditional values," clearly
referring to Indonesia's own democratic system, and those of
other liberal democracies.

8. (SBU) Wirajuda presented the "Chairman's Conclusion" at
the end of the conference, stating that the BDF would:

-- Be an inter-governmental forum, not an organization.
-- Be inclusive of all countries in the region.
-- Be an "Indonesian initiative" to "garner a sense of shared
ownership" among participants.
-- Hold regular ministerials as well as technical workshops
for officials.
-- Be open to government observers from outside the region,
as well as NGOs.

9. (SBU) Wirajuda's statement included a number of specific
work priorities, such as: strengthening regional cooperation
on democracy; consolidating democratic institutions
(electoral processes; political parties; rule of law;
legislative process, etc.); and, promoting good governance,
interfaith dialogue, and equity, etc.

A NEW INSTITUTE

10. (SBU) The cornerstone of BDF is the Institute for Peace
and Democracy located at Bali's University of Udayana. The
Institute will organize workshops, conduct research, publish

JAKARTA 00002266 003.2 OF 003


papers and set up networks among experts. President
Yudhoyono officially opened the institute on December 10. In
addition to funding from Indonesia's Foreign Affairs
Department, Australia is committing three million Australian
dollars, mostly in the form of exchanges with Australian
National University's Center for Democratic Institutions.
Other countries expressed interest in providing funding.

A BDF LINK WITH APDP

11. (SBU) Several countries--South Korea, Mongolia and the
Philippines--stressed the need for APDP to interact with
other regional democracy-building bodies, the Asia Pacific
Democracy Partnership (APDP) in particular. The GOI, which
sent a representative to the October BDF in Seoul and
observers to the Mongolian elections in June, told us that it
is open to linkages with BDF. For example, Umar Hadi said
BDF might be interested in APDP sponsoring a BDF training
workshop for election monitors. The BDF will present more
specific requests for support in the next few months.

A GOOD START

12. (SBU) All in all, the BDF seems off to a solid start.
Indonesia appears to have its ducks in a row, realizing that
it will take time for the BDF to gain traction. However, by
hosting and co-chairing this event, Indonesia was able to set
in motion a strong democratic agenda without being mired in
concensus. In the meantime, BDF supports Indonesian national
interests at several levels, including by:

-- Raising Indonesia's international and regional profile;
and,
-- Leveraging democracy in the region, thus potentially
reducing the threat that neighboring authoritarian regimes
might pose to Indonesia's own democratic stability.

At the same time, the BDF helps President Yudhoyono with his
credentials as an international statesman in the run-up to
the 2009 presidential elections. USG support for BDF gives
us another path to promote regional democracy. As
importantly it demonstrates our support for Indonesian
democratic leadership.
HUME

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