Cablegate: Promising Allies for Comprehensive Partnership In
OO RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHJA #1773/01 2960005
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 230005Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3640
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 001773
DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP
NSC FOR D. WALTON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM ID PREL
SUBJECT: PROMISING ALLIES FOR COMPREHENSIVE PARTNERSHIP IN
INDONESIA'S NEW CABINET
REF: JAKARTA 1766 AND PREVIOUS
1, (SBU) SUMMARY: President Yudhoyono's 37 new cabinet
picks, unveiled October 21, show a realistic leader who
prioritizes the economy, environment, health, and
international relations while trying to build political
consensus for his policies. He assigned most cabinet
positions as predicted (see reftel). The new cabinet
contains potential allies for progress on our Comprehensive
Partnership goals -- a sharp economic team, technocrats as
health and environment ministers, an accomplished Foreign
Minister, and known interlocutors on defense and security.
Mission suggests early and vigorous engagement with the new
cabinet to cultivate the ministers as partners and advocates.
Please see action request in para 7. END SUMMARY.
NEW CABINET INAUGURATED
2. (U) President Yudhoyono announced his new cabinet late
October 21 and inaugurated them October 22. Seventy percent
of the cabinet is new, with only 10 ministers as hold-overs
from the previous cabinet. The new cabinet members are
highly educated, with 16 holding Ph.D.s. Ten, including the
new health minister, were educated in the U.S.
3. (SBU) The dominance of politicians in the new cabinet
reflects President Yudhoyono's belief that despite a
landslide electoral victory he has to build political
consensus to push through his policies in the Parliament. To
that end, he placated coalition partners by handing out
cabinet positions, including two to defeated legislative
candidates, former Parliament (DPR) Speaker Agung Laksono
(Golkar Party, Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare)
and Patrialis Akbar (PAN party, Minster of Justice and Human
POTENTIAL ALLIES FOR BILATERAL COOPERATION ON THE ECONOMY,
HEALTH, THE ENVIRONMENT AND SECURITY
4. (SBU) The new cabinet is promising in terms of U.S. -
Indonesia cooperation on many important issues: economic
cooperation, health, the environment, and security and
defense. The economic team offers considerable continuity.
As mentioned reftel, Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Trade Minister
Mari Pangestu will stay on, a move the business community
welcomed. New Industry Minister MS Hidayat comes with strong
credentials as Chair of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce.
Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa, a close
presidential ally, could use his political power to push
through initiatives but does not have a strong track record
5. (SBU) On health, the unexpected choice of Dr. Endang
Rahayu Sedyaningish for Health Minister is a good sign. Dr.
Endang is a Harvard educated academic who works closely with
WHO and USAID on HIV prevention and avian influenza issues.
The new Environment Minister, Gusti M. Hatta, is also a
respected academician. Educated in the Netherlands, Hatta is
a professor and deputy university rector at Lambung Mangkurat
University's School of Forestry, where he helped establish an
environmental research center. He is well known for his
integrity and talent, and will focus on climate change issues
in the new administration.
6. (SBU) Our key interlocutors on security and defense
issues, including Coordinating Minister for Political,
Security and Legal Affairs Djoko Suyanto, and former Energy
Minister, now Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro (see
reftel) have worked with us in the past on counter-terrorism,
energy and other issues. Retired Military Commander-in-Chief
Suyanto, who has been instrumental in advancing military
reform, has trained in the U.S. at Nellis Air Force Base.
ACTION REQUEST: REACHING OUT TO NEW FOREIGN MINISTER MARTI
NATALEGAWA TO GAIN HIM AS KEY PARTNER
7. (SBU) Action Request: Post recommends that Secretary
Clinton call new Indonesian Foreign Minister Marti Muliana
Natalegawa, who was Indonesia's permanent representative to
the United Nations (see reftel), to congratulate him on his
new position as soon as possible. Post also recommends that
the Secretary send a formal letter of congratulations
requesting a meeting on the margins of APEC in November in
JAKARTA 00001773 002 OF 002
order to cultivate FM Natalegawa as a partner and advocate.