Bogor, Indonesia - Indonesia on Friday proposed a conference between countries in the region affected by migration including Thailand to discuss people smuggling and the flow of asylum seekers.
Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, left, talks to journalists as Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono looks on during a press conference at Bogor Palace in Bogor, Indonesia, on Friday. Mr Rudd is on a visit for the annual Indonesia-Australia Leaders' meeting including to discuss refugee problem. (EPA photo)
``All sides must shoulder the responsibility and take concrete action,'' President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said after talks with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in the Indonesian city of Bogor, near Jakarta.
Mr Rudd said he supported the president's ``bold'' initiative. ``This problem of people smuggling is a problem of the entire region,'' he said.
Indonesia will invite countries where many asylum seekers originate, such as Iran, Afghanistan and Myanmar, transit countries including Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, and Australia as a destination nation, to meet ``in the near future,'' Mr Yudhoyono said.
``It's not fair for Indonesia and Australia to shoulder the burden alone,'' he said.
Every year, thousands of undocumented migrants from Middle Eastern and South Asian countries travel by boat from Indonesia to Australia, often with the help of people smugglers.
As Mr Rudd and Mr Yudhoyono met in Bogor, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said that a boat with 80 asylum seekers on board was reported to be taking on water 77 kilometres off the coast of Indonesia's Java island.
An Australian navy vessel has been sent to help what was expected to be an Indonesian fishing vessel being used by people smugglers.
Mr Yudhoyono also said Indonesia and Australia ``agreed to expand beef and live cattle trade,'' after imports from Australia were cut two years ago.
``Indonesia's need for beef has increased significantly,'' he said.
Australia halted cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011 after Australian television aired footage of workers at an Indonesian slaughterhouse mistreating the animals.
The trade resumed later that year but Indonesia decided to slash Australian beef import quotas, citing efforts to achieve self-sufficiency.