Indonesia and the World 2010



"Indonesia and the World 2010"

By any measure, the first decade of the 21st Century has been a momentous one for Indonesia. The decade witnessed the transformation of Indonesia into what has been hailed as the third largest democracy in the world. As a result, some one quarter billion of humanity, now enjoys the civil and political rights, in addition to economic and social rights, hitherto denied them.

A solid evidence that democracy, Islam and modernity can go hand in hand.

Not least, the past decade has proven another indisputable fact: the resilience of the Indonesian nation.

Where once political obituaries were written about the demise of Indonesia gripped by multi dimensional crisis, not least separatist threats, Indonesia today is thriving as never before.

Above all, where once self-generated doubts were common among some quarters about Indonesia's role in the world, today opportunities abound.

Indeed, where foreign policy is concerned, the year ahead promises much in solidifying Indonesia's place in the world: the reaping of its democratic dividend.

A nation able to strengthen its contribution within its immediate region of Southeast Asia and yet at the same time enhancing its global interests and concerns.

A nation able to concretize its vision of a thousand friends and zero enemies.

All aimed at promoting its national interests.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Of course, in carrying out its foreign policy in the year 2010, Indonesia, like other nations, cannot be oblivious to the external milieu it is likely to face.

If the past year provides any guide it is that we are truly in the midst of a transformational phase in international relations.

The tests the international community faced in 2009 make for a depressing list: the financial, economic, energy and food crisis; threat of global pandemic; the challenge of climate change. These are just a few examples.

Multifaceted in its form and simultaneous in time.

Above all, their trans-boundary and indeed global nature remind that comprehensive solutions can be found only by means of international cooperation.

Even the mightiest of nations find it impossible to address issues whose enduring characteristic is their non conformity with state boundaries.

The year 2010 is unlikely to be any different.

Thus, multilateral approach and solutions remain indispensable.

In 2010, Indonesia will continue to invest heavily in its multilateral diplomacy.

The United Nations, with its legitimacy stemming from the universal membership of the community of nations, must remain central in addressing the various global challenges and crisis we are likely to face in the year ahead. To be effective, however, reform of the United Nations, in particular its Security Council, to better reflect the contemporary world, is essential.

Indonesia will continue to be at the forefront in promoting the role of the United Nations in tackling global crises and at the same time in calling for its reform.

Democratization of governance, after all, extends beyond national boundaries. Democratization of global institutions and governance is equally key.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

While confronting newly arisen crisis is the task of United Nations, its Charter-mandated responsibilities in promoting economic development and progress cannot be held in abeyance. The year 2010 will be particularly significant as the United Nations convene a special leaders meeting to review progress made in implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

Also not to be ignored is the unfinished business of climate change.

Despite the nature of the challenge, the Copenhagen conference at the end of 2009, as anticipated, did not quite produce the legally binding outcome. Yet, it is important that positive momentum continue to be build with the objective of reaching a legally binding commitment during the course of 2010.

Inaction is not an option.

Indonesia's diplomacy, will continue to actively strive to promote consensus and, at the same, through concrete national actions, demonstrate what can be achieved if each nation shoulder its own responsibilities.

Indeed, the year ahead is expected to bear witness to an enhanced role by Indonesia in building bridges among divides. Our foreign policy will consistently project Indonesia as part of the solution to various global challenges; of a country keen to accentuate the overlapping of interests and concerns rather than competing interests and concerns.

Such bridge-building endeavour will extend beyond the United Nations to include other multilateral fora within which Indonesia is active and in confronting the multitude of issues confronting the international community.

Of note, among them, is Indonesia's participation within the G-20.

As G-20 confirms its status as the premier forum on economic issues, Indonesia is challenged to carve a niche within the Group that is unique to itself as the world's third largest democracy, the country with the world's largest Muslim population and a voice of moderation.

While we are likely to continue to confront transformational challenges in 2010 – at the same time, perennial and "traditional" political and security challenges will continue. This mix of the traditional and non-traditional; the old and new is a reality that challenges the conduct of our foreign policy.

In the Middle East, Israeli-sourced violence and violation of international law and previously agreed commitments persist. Indonesia will continue to consistently support the Palestinian cause and the peace process aimed at realizing an independent Palestinian State. The reinvigoration of diplomatic efforts by the Quartet, including the United States, must be encouraged.

Nor would Indonesia's foreign policy in 2010 be oblivious to continuing difficulties in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There has not been an attention deficit of international attention on the situation in the aforementioned countries. Indonesia for its part will stand ready to contribute in a manner that is in keeping with its own capacities and foreign policy principles and, of course, based on the assessed needs identified by the countries themselves.

Despite the renewed attention on the perceived nuclear threat on the Korean Peninsula and Iran, the year 2010 is likely to be notable for the likely promise it offers to make substantial progress on the efforts to create a world free of nuclear weapons. The responsibilities resting on the nuclear weapon states to ensure deep cuts in their nuclear armaments are clear.

Nationally, as well as Coordinator of the Non-Aligned Movement on disarmament issues, Indonesia will play an active role in the forthcoming NPT review Conference in New York in May 2010.

Indeed, in line with the constitutionally provided principle of an independent and active foreign policy and promoting international peace and security, Indonesia will continue to play an active role within the NAM.

Such a role will be complemented by continued active engagement within the G-77 as well as the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Indonesia's preoccupation with various global challenges in 2010 will not be at the expense of its commitment to contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of its own region – Southeast Asia.

Almost mirroring Indonesia's democratic transformation over the past decade, the period since 2003 when Indonesia last held the Chairmanship of ASEAN, has witnessed ASEAN's own evolution towards an ASEAN Community. This development has not been an accident.

For Indonesia, the evolution of an ASEAN that is more alert to democratic principles and good governance is critical to ensure that there would not be a disconnect or divide between the transformation that has taken place within Indonesia and the regional milieu. In 2010, with the Charter in place, ASEAN has all the Community which we all aspire by 2015.

The urgency of concrete action by ASEAN towards cannot be underestimated.

In the broader region, the past year saw renewed interest in the idea of an East Asia or Asia-Pacific wide regional architecture. Renewed because for Indonesia it is debate that we had anticipated by forging ahead with the concept of an ASEAN Community.

For Indonesia, there cannot be an East Asian community or an Asia Pacific without an ASEAN Community as its core constituent. Thus, the ASEAN Community, the various "ASEAN +" processes, the ARF, APEC and East Asia Summit constitute a multi-pronged path towards an East Asia community with ASEAN playing a central role. This is a vision that will continue to guide us in 2010.

A notable emphasis, however, is the need to ensure that nationally, within our own borders, Indonesia itself is ready, including in terms of its national connectivity, in order to fully benefit from the regional community-building efforts.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Of course, our global and regional diplomatic efforts will be underpinned by solid bilateral diplomacy. In keeping with the tagline "one thousand friends, zero enemies", our foreign policy in 2010 will actively seek to raise to a higher level existing ties with countries in all corners of the globe – the Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. In this connection, besides the promotion of positive political and people-to-people relations, there will be renewed and focused efforts to promote economic diplomacy.

The promotion of trade, investment and tourism is critical to ensure that foreign policy brings tangible contribution to our development efforts. The foreign policy machinery will be galvanized for this purpose.

A special focus for our efforts will be in border diplomacy – namely to make headway in addressing outstanding border delineation and demarcation issues with neighbouring states through negotiations.

Not least, foreign policy in 2010 will also be cognizant of so called "intermestic issues" – those which reflect the blurring of boundaries between international and domestic issues.

One such issue is the question of protection of our nationals overseas, principally Indonesian workers overseas. Indonesian foreign policy will strive to ensure a better recognition that there is natural mutually beneficial relationship between the host country and the sending country: that each Indonesian worker is after all making contribution to the country in which he/she finds employment, while conversely earning their living. This fact must find better manifestation in the manner in which the responsibilities and rights of workers overseas are recognized.

Indonesian foreign policy in 2010 will strive to ensure that the necessary legal frameworks are in place.

Above all, however, Indonesian foreign policy, indeed, each and every Indonesian diplomat, will continue to be imbued with the principles of partiality towards and protection for Indonesian nationals.

Without exception.

One issue that is also likely to continue to preoccupy is the efforts to overcome terrorism.

Indonesia's foreign policy will continue employ bilateral, regional and global efforts to overcome this threat. Institutional capacity building will be key. As is sharing of information and intelligence.

They do not suffice, however. Indonesian foreign policy in 2010 will continue to address the so-called conditions conducive or root causes of terrorism. Inter-faith dialogue through bilateral, regional and inter-regional cooperation will be at the forefront our diplomacy. Indeed, the entire spectrum of "soft power" will occupy a central place in our foreign policy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Some final thoughts.

I am of the firm view that to be effective, foreign policy demands a strong sense of ownership and participation by the stakeholders. Thus, democratization of Indonesian foreign policy will be key.

One the one hand, this of course, relates to substance.

Indonesian foreign policy as we begin this second decade of the 21st century must reflect the democratic transformation within.

However, it also relates to process.

The foreign policy machinery must be open to interaction with stakeholders and, above all to new ideas and opportunities. The partnership and engagement with the DPR (the House of Representatives), more specifically the 1st Commission of the House, is especially valued and critical.

Foreign policy and diplomacy unites.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I do genuinely believe that Indonesian foreign policy stands at a cross road.

We have an opportunity to take Indonesia's international role to another level.

A country engaged constructively in its own region and at the same time able to contribute significantly to global issues and concerns. Such a role, of course, must be earned through the quality of our diplomacy. Through the contribution of the men and women who make up our diplomatic machinery whose dedication and hard work I wish to acknowledge today. Above all through the support and partnership of all stakeholders.

Insya Allah (by God's will).

Thank you.

This article was taken from the speech delivered by the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa, at the Foreign Ministry's Annual Press Briefing in Jakarta, 8 January 2010.