Address to Parliament by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia
By the Mr Speaker
Queen's Robing Room
Thursday 1 November 2012
"Mr President, it is a huge pleasure as well as a considerable honour for me, on behalf of both Houses of Parliament, to welcome you here today. This is destined to be a very special State Visit in many senses. Indonesia is a country of which, to be candid, our parents knew little, we still do not know enough, but our children and their children will rightly come to know far more. In many ways Indonesia is a continent camouflaged as a country. Yours is a nation of more than 17,500 islands and almost 240 million people, a number which contains literally hundreds of distinct native ethnic and linguistic sections, yet with a strong bond to a common flag. And as a founding member of ASEAN, a member of the G-20 bloc of leading economic nations and an increasingly important voice within the United Nations, Indonesia is assuming a political place entirely suitable for the fourth most populous nation in the world. Your visit could not, therefore, be better timed and signifies the fact that while the rise of a New Asia might seem a challenge to Britain and Europe, it can complement it in many others. A world of more democracies and enhanced prosperity in surely in the interests of all mankind.
It is also a huge privilege to introduce you personally. I do not know if there is an equivalent Indonesian expression for the phrase 'Renaissance Man' which we use to identify people with many attributes, but if it exists then it surely applies to yourself. You are a soldier turned statesman, a noted author with many publications to your name and an accomplished musician who, I am told, can still turn out a moving ballad. This ancient institution has hosted many individuals over the years but few who can boast, if you will excuse the pun, such a record. I hope and confidently expect that your time here will serve to deepen the ties between our two nations. We have much on which we can work together in the years and decades ahead. I now invite you to address us."
Image: Parliamentary copyright