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    Australian PM Meets with Indonesian President


    by NTDTelevision

    Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard ends her Asian tour in Indonesia where she meets with the country’s president. Both leaders are expected to discuss thorny issues such as asylum seekers and human rights abuses.

    Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard held a bilateral meeting with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta on Tuesday, capping her Asian tour.

    Yudhoyono welcomed Gillard at the Merdeka State Palace.

    Sources say Gillard and Yudhoyono discussed how to increase cooperation across economic, security, development and environmental challenges.

    Asylum is a major issue between the two countries.

    Gillard has plans of opening a regional asylum seeker processing center in East Timor.

    Asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and elsewhere have long used Indonesia as a transit point on perilous journeys to Australia, a practice that has caused friction between Jakarta and Canberra.

    Human rights could also come up for discussion.

    Foreign and local human rights watchdogs have urged Gillard to address human rights violations in Indonesia in her meeting with the president.

    Activists drew attention in particular to abuses by security forces of political activists in Maluku and Papua, from where alleged torture videos have been emerging.

    Yudhoyono cancelled a planned state dinner with Gillard. It was to make way for his visit to Yogyakarta Province, where Mount Merapi's eruptions have killed at least 39 people and sent nearly 70,000 fleeing their homes.