Morin cancels visit after al-Qaeda murder
French Defense Minister Hervé Morin has cancelled his trip to Indonesia
and returned to France directly from Vietnam following the murder of a
French citizen by members of the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
“Because of these circumstances Mr. Morin’s visit to Indonesia has had to be cancelled,” the French Embassy in Jakarta said in a press statement received by The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
“The French Embassy has canceled the press meeting announced [Monday] and hopes for the understanding of the media on this issue.”
The murder of Michel Germaneau, 78, executed by members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) last Saturday, was confirmed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who then recalled Morin to France, the statement said.
“More than ever we are determined to fight terrorism in all its forms, and support countries
that have the courage to combat this barbaric terrorism,” Sarkozy said as quoted in the latest press statement.
On Monday, the embassy had said Morin’s visit would follow on from a meeting between Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Sarkozy in Paris on Dec. 14, 2009.
“The French minister will submit to his Indonesian counterpart a draft agreement on cooperation in the field of defense, which may be signed later this year,” the initial statement read.
“The draft agreement will touch upon cooperation in training and education, security dialogue and industrial cooperation for strategic industries. French defense companies are already engaged in cooperation programs with local companies, and this visit is also aimed at enhancing this cooperation, for mutual benefit.”
Morin, who had planned to fly to Jakarta after his visit to Hanoi, was scheduled to meet Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro on Tuesday morning during his two-day visit to Indonesia. However, later on Monday the embassy announced that the visit had been cancelled, without providing further details.
On Tuesday the Indonesian Defense Ministry issued a press statement confirming that a bilateral meeting would be held between the two ministers on Wednesday.
Ministry spokesman I Wayan Midhio told the Post on Wednesday that he had not received any explanation from the embassy on the reasons behind Morin’s cancellation.
An official at the ministry said Wednesday he had not received any further information on the can cellation.