On her visit to Indonesia, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described the growing U.S. relationship and strategic partnership with Indonesia. She cited U.S. support for Indonesia's democracy, trade, and economic development; important military-to-military ties; counterterrorism cooperation; and the desirability of increased educational and cultural programs and exchanges.
During her visit, Secretary Rice announced the U.S. is providing eight-million-five-hundred-thousand dollars to be used to produce educational television programs for Indonesian children. The funds are part of a one-hundred-fifty-seven million dollar U.S. commitment to train teachers and improve school curricula that President George W. Bush announced in 2003.
Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population but is also the home to millions of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and peoples of other faiths and a variety of ethnicities. Secretary of State Rice said Indonesia's "deserved reputation for tolerance and inclusion and for the celebration of diversity is indeed an inspiration to the entire world." Ms. Rice says the U.S. is committed to working with Indonesia to deal with such issues as avian influenza, maritime piracy, and the fight against regional terrorist groups like Abu Sayyef and Jemaah Islamiyah:
"This region knows that terrorists must be actively confronted, and the United States is helping in that fight. We are working alongside countries like Malaysia and Singapore, and to build the capacity of others, like the Philippines, who have the will to fight terrorism but need help with the means. Indonesia is bringing terrorists to justice. And these actions are empowering people across this region who possess the most enduring force of all, the force of tolerance. Muslim citizens in Southeast Asia are uniting Islamic traditions with democratic principles, and advancing the hope for peace in this region."
Ms. Rice said the U.S., Indonesia, and other nations are "fighting a very tough enemy, an enemy that has been felt. . . .in Indonesia with bombings in Bali and Jakarta":
"There is an understanding that we have a deep and abiding respect for the Indonesian people, for their various faiths, and a desire to see this great democracy prosper."
Secretary of State Rice says, "In Indonesia, the deserved reputation for tolerance and inclusion and for the celebration of diversity is indeed an inspiration to the entire world."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.