President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has asked former vice president Jusuf Kalla, who is also the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) chairman, to be Indonesia’s special envoy in the ongoing conflict involving ethnic Rohingya people in Myanmar.
“Pak Kalla recently visited Myanmar and directly observed the situation of the Rohingya conflict. I told him that we should collaborate more in this matter. I also conveyed my hope that Pak Kalla, with his broad experience in settling horizontal conflicts, would be willing to be Indonesia’s special envoy as a form of Indonesian solidarity with our Rohingya brothers,” Yudhoyono told the press after meeting with Kalla at the Presidential Office on Thursday.
The government of Myanmar recently allowed the PMI, along with other international humanitarian agencies, to send aid to refugees from the deadly conflict between the Rohingyas and Rakhines in Myanmar.
Kalla managed to meet with President Thein Sein on the sidelines of his visit.
“I have learned that Pak Kalla will visit Myanmar again on Sept. 8 to meet local figures. I have asked him for his opinion on what Indonesia can do to optimize the upcoming meeting,” Yudhoyono said.
Contacted separately, Kalla said that he was keen to be the envoy. “I, and the PMI, will support the mission for humanitarian purposes,” he said.
According to Kalla, PMI and other international groups, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will start reconstructing homes for the Rohingnyas next month.
The Muslim Rohingyas have become targets in a sectarian conflict with Buddhist Rakhines. The conflict has quickly deteriorated as the government of Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya as a minority group in the country.
As one of Indonesia’s national figures, Kalla is known for his roles in the settlements of numerous horizontal conflicts in Indonesia, including those in Poso, Nangroe Aceh Darussalam, Central Sulawesi and Ambon, Maluku. (lfr)