Indonesia yet to decide on Saudi-led military coalition
Marguerite Afra Sapiie
The Jakarta Post
The government has denied joining a new Saudi-led Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism, with a Foreign Ministry official saying it has yet to decide on the matter due to the unclear modalities of the coalition.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir said on Wednesday that Indonesia was not among the 34 countries that had supported or signed-up to the military coalition, since the government had not yet seen the details of the coalition's scope of cooperation and terms of reference so could not decide its position.
"The government is still observing and waiting to see the modalities of the military coalition formed by Saudi Arabia," Arrmanatha told thejakartapost.com.
On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia announced the formation of a 34-nation Islamic military coalition, comprised of countries from the Middle East, Africa and also Asia, to combat terrorism, and in particular, the radical militants controlling most of Syria and Iraq in particular.
A statement released by state-owned Saudi Press Agency stated that more than 10 countries, including Indonesia, had "expressed their support" for the alliance and "appropriate arrangements" would be developed for coordination between "friendly peace-loving nations" and international bodies to support international efforts to combat terrorism.
"In this context, Indonesia is not supporting the coalition, but instead supporting Saudi Arabia's effort to combat terrorism and extremism," said Arrmanatha.
As Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi had said, Arrmanatha added, the government would first ensure that Saudi Arabia's intention to form this coalition was in line with Indonesia's principles and law, as the decision to join would reflect Indonesia's serious commitment to international action.
"Indonesia cannot commit to any international cooperation if the scope, mechanism and approach are not in Indonesia's favor," Arrmanatha said.
According to Arrmanatha, Indonesia was sticking to its principle of only joining international military missions or committing military troops under the flag of the UN.
However, Arrmanatha asserted that just like any other country, Indonesia remained committed to combating terrorism and extremism, saying that each country had a different approach to fulfilling that commitment.
"We're highly committed to combatting terrorism and extremism, however, we should assess the modalities first before joining any military alliance," Arrmanatha said.
Separately, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Panjaitan said that Indonesia would not yet join the military coalition as the country still wanted to use a soft-approach model of counter-terrorism.
According to Luhut, the government wants to combat terrorism by stopping radicalization as that is more effective than military action. (dan)
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