RI postpones plans for representative office
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The Foreign Ministry has postponed plans to open a representative office in Ramallah, Palestine, citing diplomatic reasons.
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said that plans to open the office would be put on hold as Indonesia did not have diplomatic relations with Israel, which occupies Palestinian territory.
“We must interact with Israel, which currently occupies Palestine,” Marty told reporters in Jakarta.
“Since Indonesia has yet to recognize Israel, we must hold the [plans] because we still don’t want to open [diplomatic ties] with the occupying state. We will appoint an honorary consul there instead to represent us in Palestine. The government of Palestine understands the situation,” Marty said.
Since the inception of the Palestinian National Authority, Ramallah has been its de facto capital.
Marty added that Indonesian representatives would avoid Israeli checkpoints when traveling in the region to make arrangements.
“The problem is not with the Palestine. We don’t want to interact with Israel. Therefore we have to travel by helicopter from Ramallah to Jordan, for example, so we don’t have to pass through checkpoints run by the Israeli authorities,” Marty said.
The plans to open a representative office would be postponed and not cancelled, Marty added.
The plan to open an office in Palestine has been discussed by lawmakers and government officials on various occasions.
Indonesia would have to coordinate with Israel before opening the office. Palestine already has an embassy in Indonesia.
On the appointment of an honorary consul, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Michael Tene said that the ministry was still assessing several Palestinian officials for the position.
“We don’t have any details yet, as we are still working with the government of Palestine on the process to help us select the best local official to represent Indonesia in Palestine,” Michael told the Jakarta Post on Thursday.
The Palestinian Authority made a symbolic bid for recognition at the United Nations as the “State of Palestine” in 2011, mainly in an effort to highlight the lack of movement in relations with Israel.
The government has underlined its commitment to supporting the Palestinian cause by intensifying bilateral relations between the two nations in all areas, from diplomatic engagement to sports cooperation.