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Jakarta Post

Commentary: Jokowi’s UN speech: Playing it safe on Palestine

  • Kornelius Purba


Jakarta   /   Thu, September 24 2020   /  01:00 am
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)

There are two sentences that stood out to me the most in President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s first speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. First, his repeated pledge on Palestine; then, his unique closing remark. It would be difficult for journalists to pick up the most interesting parts of his statements because I think he deliberately opted to use plain and even dull words. The President decided to play it safe to ensure that his pressing domestic agenda would not be disrupted, and therefore he did not want to look like pahlawan kesiangan (an accolade-seeker) on the global stage. For the time being, Jokowi has two top priorities: making COVID-19 vaccines available at affordable prices and resurrecting an economy that has nearly collapsed. “Indonesia consistently supports Palestine to claim its rights,” was his only statement about...