Susilo Bambang Yuhoyono: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are on the same page: Foreign interests should stay out of Syrian conflict resolution.
“President Putin and I share a common view that it must be stopped,” Yudhoyono said during a public lecture on “Geopolitics development in Asia Pacific in the 21st century and its effects on Indonesia” at the Army Officer School’s Soedirman Building in Bandung, West Java, on Friday.
“But all political process will depend on the Syrian people themselves.”
He said Indonesia would continue to contribute to efforts to stop the violence in Syria, which had already claimed “many lives”.
“That’s why I had a meeting with Putin in Los Cabos [Mexico] because Russia and Syria have a close relationship,” Yudhoyono said.
He said he had also talked with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the Syrian conflict “because there will be a meeting among veto holders tomorrow [Saturday].”
Vladimir Putin: (AP/Eduardo Verdugo)
Yudhoyono said he suggested the UN immediately order a cease fire and the deployment of an unarmed peacekeeping force to get the situation under control.
A cease-fire, he said, managed to reduce tension between Lebanon and Israel after they had exchanged fire for two weeks in 2010.
“If [a cease fire and the deployment of peacekeeping forces] does not work, there is another option – a peacemaking process must be begun,” he said, referring to the deployment of a peacemaking force.
Different from peacekeeping, a peacemaking process is a possible proposal to bring conflicting parties to negotiations by force.
Yudhoyono said the last option was not meant to attack Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but rather to stop “war”, as tensions had also escalated between Syria and neighboring Turkey.
“I’m already worried if an open conflict should occur. Just imagine, the situation would become more worrying if horizontal intrastate and interstate conflicts break out,” he said.
More than 10,000 people have died in clashes between Assad’s forces and anti-government protesters for more than a year.
The Arab League and Western countries had wanted to topple Assad’s regime and had asked the UN to allow for the delivery of military logistics. But Russia and China, both of which are close allies to Syria, rejected that proposal by using their veto rights. (mtq)