Discourse: UN Urges Greater RI Role in Conflict Resolution
The Jakarta Post
Thursday, March 22, 2012
The raging conflict in Syria and Iran’s nuclear program dispute have
been the world’s headlines for some time. One side of both of these
two issues has been dominated by “Western powers” with the United
Nations being used as a battleground for major powers to either
reinforce or justify their actions. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
spoke with The Jakarta Post’s Novan Iman Santosa and Yohanna Ririhena
on these issues and what role Indonesia can play in resolving
Question: Do you see this type of megaphone diplomacy through the UN
aggravating or alleviating the crisis?
Answer: It is urgent and the international community, in particular
the UN, has to show moral and political responsibility for humanity.
The situation in Syria has reached an unacceptable and intolerable
stage where more than 8,000 people have been killed. Our priority is
to halt all violence and bring humanitarian assistance to many people
who have suffered, been victimized and displaced.
In the case of Iran, the Iranian nuclear issue has become a threat to
international peace and security. Iran should make it clear to the
international community that its nuclear development program is
genuinely for peace purposes. They have not done so.
What can “middle powers” like Indonesia do in a crisis situation? Is
there any role that can truly play?
As a country with the largest Muslim population, Indonesia has a clear
role to play. Indonesia is a member of the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation (OIC), G-77 and the Non-Aligned Movement.
The UN has been working very closely with the Arab League states and
also with the OIC. Indonesia can fully cooperate with OIC members.
When it comes to economic crises or sustainable development issues,
Indonesia can focus particularly in south-to-south cooperation. I
count on a continued greater role by Indonesia.
In regards to the Cambodia-Thailand conflict, the UN deferred conflict
resolution to ASEAN. Do you see this as a potential trend or was this
dependent on the case?
The UN highly values cooperation or partnership with regional
organizations, like ASEAN, the African Union, the European Union, the
Organization of American States. Those are very important regional
organizations that can play a greater role in addressing regional
In the Cambodia-Thailand border dispute, I highly appreciated
Indonesia when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Foreign Minister
Marty Natalegawa were directly involved in resolving the issue.
Is it your view that the crisis can be resolved first through a
regional mechanism before going to the UN Security Council?
The UN Charter in Chapter VIII provides a very important role to be
played by regional organizations. Our founding fathers had already
foreseen such a role, even when there were not many regional
organizations at that time. It is quite inspiring to see that. That is
why the UN has been very closely involved in coordination with
When it comes to a certain, regional conflict, it would be even much
more effective if regional powers handled this matter before it came
to the UN. It is also part of preventive diplomacy.
What is the future of regionalism-multilateralism given that Europe
now seems to be in a crisis of identity?
Never in the past has it been more important that multilateralism be
strengthened and emphasized than now. During the Cold War Era, there
was not much room for multilateralism or regionalism to play a role.
With the end of the Cold War, the UN, the most universal international
organization, the symbol of multilateralism, has come to the fore, to
the center in addressing important international issues, not only
peace and security but also development and human rights.
The UN sets a universal norm framework where every member state fully
cooperates and implements. This is what we have been doing in the
Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] to provide balance and harmonious
prosperity, promote gender equality, provide primary education, decent
job opportunities and dignity for women and children.
Indonesia has seen relative improvements in the quality of its child
and maternal health. What do you see as the key success points, which
can be emulated in other countries?
Indonesia has met some of the MDGs targets, in terms of cutting by
half the proportion of population in extreme poverty. I think you have
met the target. You have met the target in providing sanitary drinking
water, reproductive health and primary education. In a sense you have
met quite a good number of the pillars in the MDGs. However, you have
to do more. You have to save human losses, particularly women when
they are dying from preventable diseases. So we have really to prevent
I really hope that the Indonesian government will pay more attention,
as well as invest more. The UN team is fully ready to support the
Indonesian government’s efforts. Basically, I am optimistic that
Indonesia will be able to meet the MDGs targets.