BRISBANE - Joint efforts to combat terrorism and improve regional security have helped create the best ever relationship between Indonesia and Australia, Indonesia's ambassador says.
In his first public speech since becoming ambassador to Australia last December, Teuku Mohammad Hamzah Thayeb said the bilateral relationship was at "its highest peak ever".
"For the short to medium term, we can be confident of stable and productive relations due to the excellent rapport between our heads of government and the members of their cabinets," Mr Thayeb told the Queensland branch of the Australian Institute of International Affairs in Brisbane.
"It is said the real test of a relationship comes not when times are good, but when they are at their most difficult.
"This was proven to us in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami and earthquake disasters.
"We are very grateful for Australia's compassion and generosity to those in need."
He said last year's visit by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Australia had uplifted relations and put the "East Timor issue well and truly behind us".
Mr Thayeb outlined several areas of successful cooperation, including in education and parliamentary relations.
But he said cooperation between the Australian Federal Police and the Indonesian National Police (Polri) had been particularly encouraging "if not legendary to some quarters", particularly in tackling regional terrorism and other transnational crime.
"The fruits of the cooperation between the two police forces include tracking down the perpetrators of the two Bali bombings, the Marriott Hotel bombing and the bombing outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta," he said.
Mr Thayeb stressed the issue of security in the region was in both countries' best interests, with terrorism and transnational crime continuing to be a priority.
The ambassador said he firmly believed there would be "no political stability and economic prosperity in the region should Indonesia and Australia fail to cooperate".
"Indonesia and Australia will continue to forge close partnerships between our police forces, immigration and customs officials, as well as security and intelligence agencies," he said.
Relations between the two countries plunged in the aftermath of the intervention by an Australian-led multinational force in East Timor to stem mass killings by pro-Jakarta militia in September 1999.