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Australia-Indonesia treaty 'ready'
11-jan-2006

AUSTRALIA and Indonesia are poised to sign a landmark security treaty, according to Indonesian government sources.

The wide-ranging pact encompassed not only counter-terrorism, intelligence and military cooperation but social, humanitarian and joint political concerns.

At its core was a commitment from Australia not to intervene in Indonesia's internal affairs or undermine its territorial integrity.

The pact would also draw together Australia's existing counter-terrorism agreements with Indonesia and forge new partnerships to combat people-smuggling, illegal fishing and humanitarian assistance.

The agreement would pave the way for a new era of close relations between the two nations.

Australia had already exchanged drafts of the treaty with Indonesia and Prime Minister John Howard was likely to formally sign the treaty when he visits Jakarta in the next few months.

It was understood Foreign Minister Alexander Downer discussed the deal at length with his Indonesian counterpart Hassan Wirajuda in Jakarta last month.

A spokesman for Mr Downer said the talks were well advanced.

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