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Jakarta Post

Palestine seeks Indonesia’s support ahead of OIC meeting

  • Tama Salim

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, January 17, 2017   /  06:30 am
Palestine seeks Indonesia’s support ahead of OIC meeting Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi attended a working meeting with the House of Representatives' commission I overseeing defense and foreign affairs at the House complex on Aug. 31. (Antara/Sigid Kurniawan)

Indonesia may bring up the issue of the Middle East peace process at an upcoming ministerial meeting of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Kuala Lumpur after the successful hosting of the International Peace Conference by France on Sunday.

In the OIC meeting scheduled for Thursday, when participants are expected to raise the issue of the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar, Palestine plans to table the outcome of the recent Paris conference, which produced the Middle East Peace Conference Joint Declaration.

It would also raise concerns about United States presidentelect Donald Trump’s intimate relationship with Israel, according to Nico Adam, political attaché at the Indonesian embassy in Jordan.

“With regard to the Paris conference, the Palestinian president [Mahmoud Abbas] expressly asked for the support of Indonesia to provide input on the followup mechanisms and [promote] the concrete outcome of the conference,” Nico said in a statement delivered to The Jakarta Post on Monday.

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi is expected to attend the OIC meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

Additionally, Abbas had asked Indonesia to rally backing for Palestine among Pacific island countries, most of which are usually supporters of Israel.

Nico met with Abbas as he accompanied the Indonesian ambassador to Amman, Teguh Wardoyo, on a courtesy call to the Palestinian leader in Ramallah on Sunday.

It is expected to be Teguh’s last meeting before vacating his position as ambassador for Jordan and Palestine, which will be assumed by seasoned diplomat Andy Rachmianto, who was part of the Indonesian delegation in Paris.

Some 70 countries, including key European and Arab states, as well as the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), gathered in Paris to adopt the Paris Declaration in a conference that Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected as “futile” and “rigged”. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians were represented.

As one of the outcomes in the Paris Declaration, convening parties must agree that a negotiated two-state solution is the only way to achieve enduring peace.

It also required all signatories to be prepared to contribute to political and economic incentives, including state-building initiatives for Palestine and civil society dialogue.

Furthermore, parties were asked to “refrain from unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of negotiations”, including on the status of Jerusalem.

Nico said Abbas was especially concerned about the latter point, with Trump promising Netanyahu that the US Embassy in Tel Aviv would be moved to the holy city of Jerusalem, which would ultimately set back the Middle Eastern peace process.

“The planned move will disrupt any efforts that have been made through negotiations. It is irresponsible and the international community must take steps to protect whatever progress has been achieved,” Abbas said as quoted in the Indonesian embassy’s statement.

The move would be a step back from the US’ recent move to allow a UNSC resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements to pass late last year. Indonesia has nevertheless sworn to promote the immediate implementation of the resolution.

Faced with such a challenging situation, Palestine will propose an emergency meeting of the OIC, the Arab League, the UN and the UNSC “so as to mobilize the international community in opposing [Trump’s] idea”.

“Among the concrete steps they have taken is to send a message to the OIC secretary-general and the Malaysian foreign minister ahead of the OIC meeting in Kuala Lumpur, asking for the issue [of Palestine] to be raised as well,” Nico said, adding that Palestine sought Indonesia’s legal counsel and help for the negotiations.

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