The UN General Assembly session which opened this Tuesday (22/9) was used by high-ranking officials and state leaders to discuss various issues that had been pending. On the sidelines of the main session, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi is scheduled to hold 28 meetings, not including requests for bilateral meetings with her colleagues.
In a virtual press conference from New York, America, Wednesday morning (22/9), Retno said that apart from efforts to reduce the global access gap to the Covid-19 vaccine, another issue that Indonesia voiced in bilateral meetings with various other foreign ministers was the issue of Afghanistan.
In a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday (19/9), for example, on behalf of the Indonesian government, Retno expressed her appreciation to Turkey for helping the evacuation of Indonesian citizens from Kabul; starting from ensuring access to Hamid Karzai International Airport to other technical matters. Retno and Cavusoglu also discussed the development of the situation in Afghanistan.
“We share the same views, including the importance of respecting the rights of Afghan women. We both also discussed the importance of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference) to convey a message to the Afghan interim government,” said Retno.
Retno on Monday (20/9) held talks with British Foreign Minister Elizabeth Truss, where the issue of Afghanistan – apart from dealing with COVID-19 – was also the second discussion.
On the same day, Retno held a meeting with the President of the UN General Assembly as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives Abdullah Syahid.
The issue of Afghanistan was again the focus of discussion in Foreign Minister Retno’s meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Aiman Safadi, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, all of which were held on Tuesday, on the sidelines of the general assembly. Retno also raised the same issue when speaking at a virtual “Asia Society” event, and when she spoke by telephone with the Chairman of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council Abdullah Abdullah.
“From him, I heard the hope that Indonesia could continue to contribute so that Afghanistan can be peaceful, stable and prosperous,” said Retno.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi in mid-August visited the Taliban Political Bureau office in Doha, Qatar, where she conveyed the Indonesian government’s three hopes for the new ruler in Afghanistan, namely inclusive governance, respecting women’s rights and ensuring Afghanistan does not become a den of terrorists.
Hope for a New Taliban Government
International relations observer from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) Nanto Sriyanto said Indonesia would not interpret the Taliban’s victory as part of peace, but he said there was hope that the new Afghan government under Taliban control would be accepted by the international community.
However, there is a special note about the Taliban that many countries – including Indonesia – consider recognizing the new government in Afghanistan. Among other things, the policies imposed when they ruled in the 1990s era.
Nanto emphasized that the Indonesian government would continue to carry out a free and active foreign policy.
“From there, one of the characteristics is that Indonesia is not afraid to find out directly from the Taliban. But also Indonesia adheres to the values of the international community, such as maintaining peace in the region, how the Taliban treats its citizens according to applicable human rights standards, “said Nanto.
Hundreds of State Leaders Attend UN SU
The UN General Assembly session begins today and is scheduled to be attended by representatives from 193 countries. About 107 heads of state previously said they would attend in person. Others, such as the leaders of China, Iran, Egypt and Somalia, have announced that they will deliver speeches virtually.
President Joko Widodo will deliver a virtual speech on Thursday morning Jakarta time (24/9). ASEAN leaders, except for the President of Vietnam, will deliver speeches virtually. (fw/em)