Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Indonesia

Newsline: Indonesia’s top diplomat pledges quiet diplomacy in Myanmar crisis

Indonesia has for months been quietly engaging key stakeholders in Myanmar’s conflict, as well as neighbours India, Thailand and China in an effort to kick-start a peace process as violence intensifies, its foreign minister said. Retno Marsudi told Reuters exclusively that Indonesia, as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), had launched a quiet effort to make a breakthrough in the crisis, with its diplomats having held more than 60 “engagements” with all parties involved. Those included the junta, ethnic minority armies, and a pro-democracy shadow government, she said. Speaking later at a press conference, Retno said it was vital to secure the trust of all those involved. “Indonesia is using non-megaphone diplomacy, this aims to build trust with all stakeholders, so they want to talk to us,” she said. “Quiet diplomacy does not mean we did not do anything. In fact, for the past four months, Indonesia has done many things.” The Indonesian move is the first major effort to bring to the table all the key players in Myanmar’s conflict and push for the implementation of a peace “consensus” that its top general agreed with the bloc two years ago. “We tried to be as inclusive as possible,” Retno told Reuters. “Indonesia continues trying to play a bridging role to reduce a deep and sharp gap among the stakeholders.” (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/indonesia-quietly-engaging-key-stakeholders-myanmar-crisis-foreign-minister-2023-05-05/) Representatives of the Myanmar junta and two armed ethnic groups did not respond to requests for comment.

Newsline: G-20 leaders urge peaceful resolution of conflicts

Leaders from the Group of 20 major economies plan to urge peaceful resolution of conflicts and condemn the use of nuclear weapons, in a reflection of global anxiety over Russia’s war on Ukraine. “The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,” the leaders will say, according to a draft final summit declaration seen by Nikkei Asia. (https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Ukraine-war/Ukraine-war-Free-to-read/Ukraine-latest-India-s-Modi-calls-for-diplomacy-to-end-Ukraine-war) “The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war.” The communique is set to be formally adopted by G-20 leaders on Wednesday. The text could change before then as a result of further talks on its content.

Newsline: G-20 Diplomats Agree on Statement Despite Differences on Russia

Group of 20 diplomats agreed on a proposed communique to put to their leaders when they meet Tuesday in Bali, Indonesia, after a tense day of negotiations to overcome differences on how hard to criticize Russia for its war in Ukraine, according to officials familiar with the matter. If leaders sign off it will avoid this becoming the first G-20 summit to end without a joint statement at all. To get there, negotiators had to devise language that walked the line between acknowledging Russia’s concerns and extracting concessions from it. One diplomat cautioned that things were not completely ironed on with the full draft still not circulating even as a verbal understanding was reached, and with leaders yet to approve the language. The planned draft declaration will point to an earlier United Nations resolution, which deplored Russia’s aggression while demanding it withdraw from Ukraine, the people said. (https://news.yahoo.com/g-20-diplomats-draft-communique-133312244.html) At the same time, the proposed G-20 statement will note differences between some nations by recalling their previously-stated positions on the conflict, the people said. One added the plan for now was to refer to the “war in Ukraine” as opposed to “Russia’s war in Ukraine.” Moscow insists on calling its invasion a “special military operation” and has made it a criminal offense at home to describe it as a war. Some officials had talked earlier Monday of the prospect of a communique involving different language in some parts where the war would be described.

Newsline: Top level diplomacy between China and US entails goodwill gestures

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping agreed to a series of goodwill gestures intended to improve ties between their countries after the first in-person meeting between the leaders of the US and China since the pandemic began. The two men met for about three hours on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, greeting each other with a handshake and conciliatory remarks in which they both called for calming tensions. The White House said in a statement afterward that Secretary of State Antony Blinken would travel to China, in a sign of a thaw. The countries will also resume talks between senior officials on issues including climate change, economic stability and debt relief, and health and food security, according to the statement. China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement after the meeting that “suppression and containment will only strengthen the will and boost the morale of the Chinese people.” (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/biden-meets-xi-asia-allies-133056797.html) Biden and Xi also agreed that “a nuclear war should never be fought” and that they oppose “the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.” Xi and the Chinese government have been reticent to publicly criticize Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Newsline: Russia’s top diplomat reported to leave hospital in Bali after ‘checkup’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited and later left a Bali hospital ahead of the Group of 20 summit being held on the island, Indonesian authorities said Monday. Russia denied that he had been hospitalized. Russia’s top diplomat arrived on the resort island the previous evening to take part in the meeting of the world’s leading economies, which begins Tuesday. Bali Gov. I Wayan Koster said Lavrov was taken to Sanglah Hospital, the island’s biggest, “for a health checkup.” “He left the hospital after a brief checkup and his health is in good condition,” the governor said. Four Indonesian government and medical officials earlier told The Associated Press that Lavrov was treated at the hospital in the provincial capital, Denpasar. (https://news.yahoo.com/indonesian-officials-russian-fm-lavrov-090854811.html) All of those officials declined to be identified as they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Two of the people said Lavrov had sought treatment for a heart condition, with one later saying he’d returned to his hotel. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova denied that Lavrov had been hospitalized, calling it “the highest level of fakes.” She did not address whether he had received medical treatment. She posted a video of Lavrov, looking healthy in a T-shirt and shorts, in which he was asked to comment on the report. Russia’s state news agency Tass separately cited Lavrov as saying, “I’m in the hotel, reading materials for the summit tomorrow.” The hospital did not immediately comment.

Newsline: Russian top diplomat taken to hospital in Bali, Indonesia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has been taken to the hospital after suffering a health problem following his arrival for the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesian authorities said Monday. Three Indonesian government and medical officials told The Associated Press that the Russian diplomat was being treated on the resort island. (https://news.yahoo.com/indonesian-officials-russian-fm-lavrov-090854811.html) All declined to be identified as they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Two of the people said Lavrov was being treated for a heart condition. The officials said he was taken to Sanglah Hospital in the provincial capital, Denpasar. The hospital did not immediately comment. Officials at the Russian Embassy could not immediately be reached for comment. Lavrov is the highest-ranking Russian official attending the G-20 summit that begins Tuesday.

Newsline: Russian embassy in Indonesia says Putin will not attend G20 summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the G20 leaders’ summit on the Indonesian resort island of Bali next week, Moscow’s embassy in Indonesia told AFP on Thursday. “I can confirm that (foreign minister) Sergei Lavrov will lead the Russian delegation to the G20. President Putin’s program is still being worked out, he could participate virtually,” said Yulia Tomskaya, the embassy’s chief of protocol. US President Joe Biden, who has called Putin a “war criminal” and who will be attending the summit, previously said he had no intention of meeting Putin in Bali if he went. The decision, which follows months of speculation, comes as Moscow is suffering losses in its Ukraine campaign and as the Kremlin tries to shield itself from Western condemnation at the November 15-16 summit. Another source with knowledge of Russia’s planning for the Bali event confirmed that Putin would be replaced by Lavrov. The person said it was unclear if the Russian leader would attend virtually. (https://news.yahoo.com/putin-not-g20-summit-bali-033642702.html) Moscow’s top diplomat walked out of a July G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Bali after officials roundly condemned Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Host Indonesia pursues a neutral foreign policy and has rebuffed Western calls to disinvite Russia from the summit. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Putin would be invited to the summit despite the invasion, prompting a flurry of Western criticism. In August, he said Putin had accepted that invitation.

Newsline: Peruvian consulate in Bali accused of negligence

A Peruvian transgender rights activist has died in police custody in Bali. The relatives said that they were failed by the head of the Peruvian consulate in Bali, who they say did not respond to their messages. Peru’s foreign ministry has dismissed the family’s allegation that the arrest of the two men was an act of racial discrimination and transphobia. “It is widely known that Indonesia has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to possession of drugs and their derivatives,” their statement reads. (https://news.yahoo.com/bali-transgender-student-dies-police-135142169.html) Police arrested Rodrigo Ventocilla, 32, on 6 August at Denpasar airport, after customs officials found what they said were suspicious items in his baggage. He died five days later in hospital, where police had taken him after he had started vomiting, local media reported. Ventocilla’s family accuse police of mistreating the Harvard student and of barring lawyers they had hired from seeing him. Rodrigo Ventocilla, who was studying Public Administration at Harvard Kennedy School in the US, had travelled to Bali for his honeymoon. Ventocilla’s husband, Sebastián Marallano, arrived on a different flight and was detained later as he tried to help Ventocilla, a family statement says. The family alleges that Bali police asked for “exorbitant sums of money” in exchange for releasing the two men, an allegation police in Bali have not yet responded to. Both men were transferred by police to hospital on 9 August, with Ventocilla subsequently moved to another hospital, where he died on 11 August, the family statement adds. A police official said Ventocilla had been taken ill after consuming drugs which had not been confiscated from him during the search that had led to his arrest.

Newsline: Indonesia summons China’s ambassador over burials at sea on fishing fleet

Indonesia has summoned China’s ambassador to clarify the deaths of four Indonesian crew from two Chinese-flagged vessels, Indonesia’s foreign ministry said on Thursday, after rights groups alleged the crew were mistreated and exploited. The ministry issued a statement after a video was circulated on social media, appearing to show a burial at sea aboard a Chinese-flagged ship. The footage showed a group of men praying around an orange body bag before it was tossed into the ocean. A Chinese embassy official in Jakarta did not immediately respond to a request for comment after the ambassador was summoned. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi later told a news conference that three Indonesian crew members had died aboard Chinese-flagged fishing vessels since December and had been buried at sea. “One crew member died and was buried at sea on March 31. In December 2019, two other crew members…died and were also buried at sea,” Marsudi said, adding that another crew member crew died onshore of pneumonia in a hospital in the South Korean port of Busan. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-china-burials/indonesia-summons-chinas-ambassador-over-burials-at-sea-on-fishing-fleet-idUSKBN22J1PM) Marsudi said she had asked Xiao Qian, Chiana’s ambassador to Indonesia, for clarification of whether the burials had been carried out at sea in accordance with International Labour Organization (ILO) rules and whether “unsuitable” conditions on board the vessels contributed to the deaths.

Newsline: Indonesian embassies ramp up efforts to help citizens abroad

Indonesians diplomatic missions are ramping up efforts to help citizens abroad who are facing hardship amid the stringent measures imposed by many countries in the battle against COVID-19. For the last few days several embassies have been actively delivering aid to isolated citizens or those whose livelihoods have been disrupted as a result of the policies of the countries they live in. In Australia, for instance, the Indonesian Consulate General in Sydney has delivered aid packages to 210 Indonesians with Work and Holiday Visas (WHV) who have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The packages consisted of staple foods such as rice, cooking oil, eggs, sugar, milk, instant noodles and hand sanitizer – all of which are now scarce in Australia. They were delivered to three states – New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia – Indonesian Consul General in Sydney Heru Subolo said in a statement. (https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/04/16/covid-19-indonesian-embassies-ramp-up-efforts-to-help-citizens-abroad.html) The Indonesian Embassy in Kuwait City, the capital of Kuwait, said that it had been receiving reports from Indonesian citizens starting to face difficulties. The embassy received about 240 reports on April 2, but the number rose to 1,700 on Tuesday.