Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (AP/Ivan Sekretarev)
When asked for comment on the assault that killed the top US envoy in Libya, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s spokesperson for foreign affairs, Teuku Faizasyah, said on Thursday that the President “followed media reports on the incident.”
“The President is very much up-to-date with any developments in international issues, including the incident in Libya,” Faizasyah told reporters at the State Palace.
US Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens and three other US Department of State employees were killed during an assault on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday.
According to Faizasyah, the President wanted to reflect on the fatal incident and the connection to the planned Koran-burning day by American reverend Terry Jones in 2010.
“The incident was triggered by a video on YouTube with religiously sensitive content. In reflection to the Terry Jones case, we really object to any acts of blasphemy, because the implications can trigger people’s anger and antagonism. In the latest incident [in Libya], it has even resulted in the deaths [of the US envoys], which we regret so much,” he said.
Faizasyah looked pensive when asked about the correlation between the case and Indonesia’s relationships with both Libya and the US.
“There are two different issues: the first is about blasphemy and the second is about the fallout for US diplomats in Libya,” he said.
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, meanwhile, downplayed the incident by saying, “the issue is not directly related to Indonesia.”
When asked if the US embassy and consulates in Indonesia had asked for heightened security measures, Marty said, “All foreign representative offices in Jakarta are vital objects that require special security measures. We keep in communication with them, particularly if there are developments that require us to increase our alertness.” (iwa)