...will be the first of its kind
Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) - The governments of Indonesia, Australia, and Timor Leste held a trilateral meeting here on Friday to discuss ways to increase cooperation among the three neighboring countries.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao sat at one table on Friday after previously attending the Bali Democracy Forum V on Thursday.

After the trilateral meeting, the Indonesian head of state will return to Jakarta on Friday afternoon.

Speaking to the press here on Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the meeting of the leaders of the three countries was expected to pave the way for future cooperation and development.

"A trilateral meeting among the leaders of Australia, Indonesia, and Timor Leste will be the first of its kind," Gillard noted.

She expressed optimism that the meeting would lead to increased cooperation among the three countries in various fields.

The Australian prime minister was one of the 11 heads of state attending the event, held on November 8-9.

Gillard, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak have been co-chairing the annual forum since 2008.

In her address at the opening ceremony of the 5th Bali Democracy Forum, Gillard praised Indonesia for its effort in promoting democratic values at the regional level.

She said Indonesia is one of the largest democracies in the world and, therefore, Australia is keen to cooperate with the country in promoting the values of democracy in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Australian prime minister praised the Bali Democracy Forum on grounds that all parties can openly convey their points of view about the values of democracy "without being bounded by a dividing wall".

"Unlike some countries that claim to be democratic, we at this forum can openly explain the values of democracy," Gillard said.

Editor: Ella Syafputri
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