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Indonesia Calls on OZ for Reciprocal Visa Policy

Minister Bakrie Calls on Canberra to Extend Visa-on-Arrival Facility to Indonesian Tourists.

(4/22/2005) Following a recent meeting between ranking government ministers of Australia and Indonesia in Canberra, Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Aburizal Bakrie, has called on Australia to grant visas on arrival to visiting Indonesians, reciprocating a similar courtesy currently extended to all Australians visiting Indonesia on holiday.

In comments made before the Indonesia-Australia Business Conference underway on Nusa Dua, Minister Bakrie said the extension of the visa-on-arrival facility to Indonesian visitors would do much to further improve relations between the two countries, while giving greater impetus to trade and investment opportunities.

In further support of his demand for the new visa facility, Minister Bakrie pointed to the recent bi-lateral cooperation agreement signed by Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Australia's Prime Minister John Howard in early April and similar policies for the free-movement of people over borders now in effect among ASEAN members.

Australia's Trade Minister, who was also attending the Bali Conference, made no formal response to Minister Bakrie's suggestion, but pointed to a better than 95% approval rate for Indonesians applying for visitor visas to Australia as proof of his Country's openness to Indonesian tourists and commitment to developing cross border visits.