Indonesia, Australia to co-host interfaith conference 6-7 December

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade web site, Canberra
2 Dec 04

Text of media release from the office of Foreign Affairs Minister
Alexander Downer, carried by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs
and Trade web site on 2 December

I will co-host, together with my Indonesian counterpart Dr Hasan
Wirayudha, an "International Dialogue on Interfaith Cooperation" in
Yogyakarta on 6-7 December 2004.

Australia and Indonesia are determined to foster greater understanding
and build harmonious relationships between faith communities in our
region. Neither country wants to let extremists set the agenda with
their deliberate attempts to create discord and incite violence. We
want to do more to empower the moderate majorities who seek peace,
harmony and tolerance in all our communities.

The dialogue will involve 10 faith and community leaders and
interfaith experts from each ASEAN country, Australia, New Zealand,
Papua New Guinea and East Timor.

The Australian participants are: Cardinal George Pell, Catholic
archbishop of Sydney; Rev John Baldock, Anglican Church; Ms Wendie
Wilkie, Uniting Church; Rev John Henderson, general secretary of the
National Council of Churches in Australia; Archbishop Aghan Baliozian,
Diocese of the Armenian Church of Australia and New Zealand; Dr Ameer
Ali, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils; The
Most Venerable Phuoc Hue, president, Buddhist Federation of Australia;
Sister Patricia Madigan OP, Catholic Church, Bishop's Advisory
Committee (Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations); Ms Peta Jones
Pellach, Executive Council of Australian Jewry; and Dr Appupillay
Balasubramaniam, chairman of the board of directors, Hindu Council of
Australia.

Bringing together faith and community leaders from around the region
will promote mutual understanding. The dialogue will explore regional
case studies where communities have developed harmonious relations. By
promoting understanding and learning from each other's experiences,
the dialogue will foster a common regional resolve to meet challenges
such as extremism.

This is the first joint Australia-Indonesian government organized
event of this type and will build on our strong record of cooperation
in organizing major regional meetings to facilitate cooperation on
counter-terrorism and people-smuggling.