Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo has said land and forest fires have declined significantly this year compared with previous years due to the country`s strong stance in protecting its forests.

"This assertiveness would not have achieved these ideal results without public support and participation," the president stressed in his presidential speech on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of Indonesia`s independence at the parliament building here on Thursday.

The head of state expressed his gratitude to the Indonesian military and police, local administrations and the public for their dedication in preventing forest fires.

"We need courage to make the leap. We have to be firm in making the best decision for the people of Indonesia, including being firm in protecting our land and forests," he stated.

Present at the annual session were Vice President Jusuf Kalla, cabinet ministers, foreign representatives, former presidents BJ Habibie and Megawati Sukarnoputri, and former vice presidents Try Sutrisno and Boediono.

Reporting by Dewanto Samodro
Editing by Sri Haryati

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Bustanuddin
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