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President Yudhoyono’s speech at our Annual Address


By dxw

HE Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia, addressed an audience of over 120 people when he delivered our second Annual Address at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London.

Friday 2 November 2012 (WP1198)

Indonesia’s role as a regional and global actor

The President was accompanied by a delegation of senior business and political representatives from Indonesia including Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Marty Natalegawa; Minister of Trade, Mr Gita Irawan Wirjawan and the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr Jero Wacik. The First Lady of Indonesia and two of Dr Yudhoyono’s sons were also present.

After welcoming remarks by Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Iain Ferguson, Chairman of Wilton Park’s Board, President Yudhoyono took to the lectern in the Grand Reception room of the Locarno Suite. Conveying his thoughts on Indonesia’s role as a global and regional actor, the President noted the strong economic and democratic fundamentals that inform Indonesia’s various roles as a norm-setter, consensus-builder and advocate for the developing world.

After the speech his audience of diplomats (past and present), business people, parliamentarians, academics, non-governmental organisation staffers and opinion leaders were invited to participate in a ‘Question and Answer’ session, chaired by our Chief Executive, Richard Burge.


The President’s speech


Assalamu’alaikum Wr.  Wb.

May peace be upon us

Excellency Mr Richard Burge
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed a great honor and a distinct pleasure for me to address this Wilton Park forum today.

I wish to thank Mr Richard Burge, Chief Executive of Wilton Park, and his hard working team for organizing this event. I understand that Mr Burge was in Jakarta last September to organize the first Wilton Park forum in Indonesia.

I am glad to learn that Wilton Park and the Indonesian Foreign Ministry have agreed to organize regular dialogues and discussions on strategic issues of common concern. In this connection, I welcome the convening of two Wilton Park events on Indonesia, in 2008 and in 2010 respectively.

Today, with distinct pleasure, I will speak on ‘Indonesia’s role as regional and global actor’ before this august forum. This is indeed a challenging topic and at first I find it difficult from where I have to start discussing this topic.

In fact reading through some articles on Indonesia – many of their writers I believe are here among us – allow me to reflect on Indonesia’s contribution thus far. Indeed, many analysts have written voluminous articles on Indonesia’s contribution to the regional and global peace and prosperity in the past few years and many have also written constructively about our foreign policy activism as new regionalism and internationalism of Indonesia.

The Indonesian government and people, and I myself, are certainly humbled by this encouraging assessment. It carries with it not only a tribute, but also  expectation that Indonesia will continue to assume larger international responsibilities.

It is our duty to live up to this expectation, it is the duty that emanates from our constitutional call, to participate in the creation of world order based on freedom, lasting peace, and social justice. We believe that global peace and prosperity will help create external environments conducive for our national development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I do believe that in order to play some roles regionally and internationally, any country must have certain capacity and in the case of Indonesia, this capacity is derived from our domestic consolidation.

Our economy has shown resilience and consistent growth since 2001, with an exception in 2009 when we experienced 4.6 percent growth during the first wave of the global financial crisis. Some pundits have even believed that Indonesia’s growth is more consistent, when compared with any OECD or BRICS country. They predicted that this year, Indonesia could become the second highest growing economy in Asia, after China, and surpassing India and this year, our growth is projected to be from 6.3 to 6.5 percent.

In the current global uncertainty, achieving such a projected growth is highly challenging. I am optimistic, however, that this is attainable as we have strong economic fundamentals. We have a large middle class, rich and diverse natural resources, young and educated work forces, and adopted sound economic policies, including disciplined fiscal policies. We pursue a comprehensive development strategy that is founded on four pillars: pro-growth, pro-poor, pro-job and pro-environment.

Meanwhile, our democracy is taking roots, moving from electoral to a more substantive democracy. We have plenty of dinamics along the way, labor strikes, students rally, clamorous media and many more, you name it, but that is the reality of Indonesian democracy today.

It is only natural that all these achievements have strengthened Indonesia’s capacity to project a new activism in its foreign policy, to play greater and diverse roles, to help shape regional and global order.

During the UN General Assembly last September, I referred to our current global security condition as ‘warm peace’.  A condition where Cold War tensions have been overcome, but still short from a condition of total peace. In such a condition, we must do our outmost to achieve an international order based on durable peace and global cooperation.

Indonesia believes that this order will be peaceful, stable and sustainable if it is built upon a set of norms and principles. This is why norms setting is one of the critical parts of our foreign policy. This is why we attach particular importance to our role as a NORM SETTER.

In the context of South China Sea, for example, there must be a set of norms that would guide regional countries in their conduct, in relations with the overlapping territorial claims.

That is why when ASEAN was not able to agree on a joint communiqué in July 2012 due to the South China Sea issue, I initiated a swift shuttle diplomacy to seek a common denominator among the ASEAN countries. In the end, we agreed on the Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea. In this connection, we remain relentless in urging the immediate agreement on a regional code of conduct in South China Sea.

In the same vein, as we set for a deeper and stronger East Asia, our ASEAN Chairmanship in 2011 had stressed on the critical importance of principled cooperation in the region. It is a cooperation that strives for common peace, stability and prosperity and as such, it is cooperation that is guided by the principles of equality, partnership, consultation, and mutual respect. This is what we built and agreed in the Declaration of the East Asia Summit on the Principles of Mutually Beneficial Relations.

Indonesia also values the importance of having a set of norms and rules that could prevent violence and conflict caused by hatred and intolerance.

Last September, I seized the opportunity to stress this point at the UN General Assembly, I called for the promotion of a universal culture of mutual tolerance and mutual appreciation. We are deeply disturbed by the fact that defamation of religions persists, we have seen yet another one in the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’, that has caused an international uproar.

Hence, I also called for the establishment of an international instrument that stipulates norms, rules, and responsibilities with regard to this very issue.

In reality, it is not always easy to attain agreement on a set of norms and principles, we will need extra efforts to build a consensus, this is another role that features in our foreign policy. We are a CONSENSUS BUILDER – we build consensus guided by vision, determination, and pragmatism.

An example of consensus building efforts at the global level was during the historic UN Conference on Climate Change – or COP 13 – in Bali in 2007. At that time, there was a deadlock in the climate negotiations between developed and developing countries, I personally called on both sides to do more to achieve consensus on the Bali Roadmap. After extra efforts, with intense consultations with all sides, all parties were able to agree on the Roadmap as they eventually set aside their parochial interests.

Following the Bali Conference, environment protection became increasingly inherent in our development agenda and in line with this, Indonesia arrived at the 26/41 formula. We pledged to reduce emissions by 26 percent by 2020 relying on our own means, our own resources, and by 41 percent with international support.

Today we enjoy the full support of our partner countries for our environmental objectives and I am glad that the issue of the environment, particularly the challenge of climate change, is given top priority in UK-Indonesia cooperation.

Also critical to Indonesia’s engagement with its region and the global world is its role as PEACEKEEPER. This is a long-standing responsibility that has been inspired by the vision of our founding fathers and it is the vision that lays our obligation to participate in the creation of a world order based on freedom, lasting peace, and social justice.

Since our participation in the UN Emergency Force in 1957, peacekeeping has become a vital element of Indonesia’s foreign policy, through peacekeeping, Indonesia can live up to the vision of its founding fathers. More than 1900 Indonesian peacekeepers are currently deployed in seven UN peacekeeping operations, the largest is in UNIFIL, reaching almost 1500 personnel.

Indeed, there are many situations in the world today that have become part of our concerns. Situations that require measures from peace enforcement to peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

The situation in Syria is one of the most appalling, now the conflict in the country becomes more complex. Its potential to harmfully affect the stability of the region is on the horizon, therefore, its immediate solution is critically urgent.

I have expressed Indonesia’s position regarding the conflict in many occasions. We are deeply concerned over the high toll of innocent civilian lives.

Despite all efforts through all avenues, conflict in the country persists. It would be regrettable if the world does not do anything. If the international community does not do anything in Syria, a huge human tragedy will happen. Therefore, the UN Security Council must now unite and act decisively as mandated by the UN Charter to bring peace to the country.

I believe that a UN military observer mission will not work under the present situation in Syria. Such a mission will work only in an environment where peace exists, or a cease fire has taken place. It is the wrong place and wrong mission for military observers to be deployed in Syria in the current situation. This is what I learned from my experiences of leading UN military observers in Bosnia, or the former Yugoslavia.

Therefore, in my opinion, a UN mission will succeed to end the conflict in the country if the mission is authorized with stronger mandate. Such a mission would have a military force, which is capable of assuring the implementation of a cease-fire and protecting civilians. In other words, such a force is not intended to attack the Syrian government’s troops or the opposition forces.

I prefer to call this measure a Chapter Six plus or expanded Chapter Six, which essentially is still a peacekeeping mission.

Not less important is our role as a BRIDGE BUILDER. We build bridges that promote dialogue among civilizations; dialogue between the West and the Muslim world.

In my view, there are a number of imperatives in ensuring success in building dialogue and harmony among civilizations. First, we need to intensify the process of dialogue and conduct more outreach activities, second, we need to make our century as the century of soft power, at the center of which are multiculturalism and the culture of tolerance and third, we need to develop global education, global conscience, and global governance.

I also hold the view that dialogue among different faiths, civilizations and cultures should also translate into actual cooperation. I am glad that inter-faith and inter-civilization dialogue is a priority area in our bilateral cooperation. In 2006 then Prime Minister Tony Blair and I agreed to set up the Indonesia-UK Islamic Advisory Group composed of prominent Muslim leaders from the two countries.

We tasked the Group to submit recommendations on how to promote dialogue between Muslim communities in our two countries and with communities of other religions. Some activities recommended by the Group have become models of people-to-people cooperation, for example the sister schools program and the exchange of Imams and Muslim scholars.

Last but not least is Indonesia’s role as the VOICE OF THE DEVELOPING WORLD. For long, within the Non-Aligned Movement as well as the G77, Indonesia has regarded the needs and interests of developing nations as a priority in its global diplomacy. We pioneered the discussion on the right to development and exerted concerted efforts to promote its global support.

Therefore Indonesia together with other emerging economies in the G20 leads the way in the discussion of the issue of development in the G20 forum. We promote financial inclusion in the forum, an issue which is increasingly critical to the economy of developing countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased that Indonesia and the United Kingdom have expanded their collaboration beyond bilateral-levels. Together with Liberia, Indonesia and the United Kingdom have been tasked by the UN Secretary-General to co-chair a High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons. Its main mandate is to chart a bold yet achievable vision of the post-2015 development agenda.

I am glad that since the first meeting of the Panel in New York last month, the Panel was able to steadily amass the elements of our vision on the post-2015 development agenda. We agree that our main objective is to end poverty.

And yesterday, our second meeting was productive, focusing on the common vision of the Panel. We also exchanged views on all elements required to devise a global development agenda with a view to creating ‘a world without poverty’. From our perspective, poverty is caused by multiple factors: lack of access to resources, poor governance, inequality, and environmental degradation can lead to poverty.

That is why Indonesia believes that the post-2015 development agenda should promote equitable development and sustainable growth with equity. It should strike an optimal balance between economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability and it should wield a variety of tools to achieve this balance.

Global partnership and collaboration are crucial to the realization of the agenda. All countries, big and small, must be on board, hence we must rigorously pursue dialogue and deliberations toward a global consensus that will overcome all the intractable and emerging challenges of this century.

And these precisely are what the United Kingdom and Indonesia are pursuing together in our enhanced cooperation.

As a final point, I have high hope that our cooperation in tackling global issues critical for our future generation will succeed. Moreover, I also hope that ours can become a good model for the global partnership between developed and developing countries.

I thank you.

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.”


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