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Jakarta Post

Jokowi calls for end to global rivalries in his first UN assembly address

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, September 23, 2020   /   04:43 pm
Jokowi calls for end to global rivalries in his first UN assembly address President Joko Widodo delivers his address at the United Nations General Assembly which was broadcasted virtually on Tuesday evening New York time or Wednesday morning Jakarta time. It is Jokowi's first speech and attendance at the largest annual multilateral summit during his tenure. (Antara/Foreign Ministry)

In his first-ever address at the United Nations General Assembly, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo called on all countries to put an end to global division and rivalries, emphasizing the need for nations to act together in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jokowi said international conflicts had prevented the UN from fully achieving its dream of creating a peaceful, stable and prosperous world – an ambition that the organization had set out to achieve since its establishment 75 years ago.

“Our concern grew even deeper during the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when we ought to unite and work together, what we see, instead, is a deep division and growing rivalries,” Jokowi said in his virtual address broadcasted on Tuesday evening New York time, or Wednesday morning Jakarta time.

Jokowi pointed out poverty and hunger as results of conflicts, while highlighting the prevalent neglect of the principles of the UN Charter and international laws, including the respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“We must unite and always promote a win-win approach that is mutually beneficial in building relations among states.”

He asserted that global unity was particularly urgent given the health and socioeconomic impacts brought by the pandemic, which has swept across more than 200 countries and territories to date.

“No one is safe until everyone is. If division and rivalries continue to persist, I am concerned that the pillars of stability and sustainable peace will crumble or even be destroyed,” Jokowi said.

Read also: Indonesia calls for strengthened multilateral institutions as UN turns 75

Indonesia’s commitment to world peace

During the largest annual multilateral summit, Jokowi reasserted the Southeast Asian country's commitment to continuously contribute to building world peace, as mandated by Indonesia's own Constitution.

Indonesia would consistently play the role of a "bridge builder" to provide solutions to world issues and promote a spirit of cooperation, he said.

Jokowi also reiterated Indonesia’s support for Palestine, emphasizing the relevance of the values embedded in the 1955 Bandung Conference, which gave birth to the Bandung Principles of peaceful settlement of disputes, promotion of cooperation and respect for international law.

“Palestine is the only country that attended the Bandung Conference but has not enjoyed its independence until now.”

He further expressed Indonesia's commitment to maintaining regional peace and stability in Southeast Asia, and to put forward the same spirit in promoting wider collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region through the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.

Indonesia’s recommendations to the UN, world countries

With regard to the current global situation, Jokowi urged the UN to continue strengthening reforms, revitalization and efficiency within the body to remain relevant and contributive in keeping with the challenges of the times.

“The UN needs to be more responsive and effective in tackling global challenges, and all of us bear the responsibility to further strengthen the UN,” he said.

“The UN is not a mere building in the city of New York, rather, it represents an ideal and shared commitment of all nations.”

Jokowi specifically highlighted the aspect of multilateralism that the UN should pay attention to, as he said it was the only tool that could guarantee equality.

“Indonesia has an unwavering faith in the UN and multilateralism,” he said, “The UN needs to prove that multilateralism delivers, especially during this time of crisis.”

Read also: World leaders mark UN at 75, challenged by pandemic and US, China tensions

The President also urged the UN and the world to strengthen “collective global leadership”.

“We are all aware that when it comes to international relations, every country always protects their national interests. However, we must not forget that all of us have the responsibility to contribute to be part of the solution for peace, stability and prosperity of the world,” he said.

Moreover, he called for countries around the globe to strengthen cooperation in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

All nations must work together to ensure that no country would be left behind in gaining equal access to safe coronavirus vaccines at affordable prices, he said.

Jokowi also urged the world to gradually start revitalizing the economy by tackling the limits to the global supply chain, with prioritization of the health of all world citizens.

“A healthy world, productive world needs to be our priority.”