THE 58

New York, 23 September 2003

Mr. President,

Allow me to begin by drawing our attention to the reality that, in spite of all its deficiencies and weaknesses, it must be admitted that the United Nations has displayed its merits and contributions, not only for humanity in general but also for its Member States in particular.


This world body has maintained minimum standards that every state must meet on the protection and promotion of human rights of all its citizens. The United Nations has developed and strived to implement of international laws binding each and every Member. It also has instituted and put into practice an array of legal instruments very useful in preventing and settling conflicts among states as well as in promoting a framework of cooperation among nations.


Hence, I wish to seize this occasion to convey to the United Nations the gratitude and appreciation of my country and nation for the invaluable work it has done for our benefit. The contributions of this Organization to our political and economic development are well recorded in our history. These contributions range from its mediating role during the period of our struggle to preserve our national independence between 1945 - 1949, to its active participation in our efforts to use our independence wisely in our pursuit of national development.


Our national state is built upon racial, ethnic, religious and cultural pluralities, which may not only be the most heterogenic but also the largest archipelagic state of the world. Our people are still predominantly living in a traditional pattern of life and dispersed over more than seventeen thousand islands across the equator. The financial crisis, which has been the most devastating in Indonesia's history, not only ignited conflicts between ethnic groups but also revived separatist movements in several regions. We are doing all we can to contain and defuse those separatist movements. On the process, we have diminished our capacity to strengthen our economic recovery.


While we were contending with these difficulties, starting 2002, terrorism has inflicted its brutality upon our homeland. For quite a long time we believed that international terrorism would spare Indonesia because we had a tradition of tolerance for human differences. Now, however, we must face the reality that Indonesia has become a target of terrorism, and as a result, has suffered enormous losses in human lives.


We have been wondering: why those terrifying acts were carried out? What are their underlying reasons, motives, and arguments? What are their relations to international terrorism networks? What is the course of action to be adopted in order to effectively prevent, deter, and eradicate them?


We have adopted a series of firm legislations to prevent and eradicate the threats posed by terrorism. Equipped with these stronger legal authorities, we have dismantled terrorist cells in the country and prosecutors have brought their members to justice. Several have already been meted sentences that befit their crimes.


The people of Indonesia, who are predominantly of the Islamic faith, support this national policy. Large and active Islamic organizations, such as Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, as well as the Indonesian Ulemas Council and prominent Islamic figures are one in condemning these terrorist acts.


It should be noted that the terrorists - who are few but fanatical - often claim that they are fighting in the name of Islam. They have to be a mere minority, since Islam --which teaches equality, justice, and the kinship shared by all humankind-cannot possibly endorse the indiscriminate killing of innocent individuals. As in other Muslim countries, adherents of "mainstream" Islam in Indonesia practice moderation and are strongly opposed to violence.


Although they are a small splinter from the large Indonesian community of Muslim, the perpetrators of those terrorist acts represent a branch of international terrorism. The motives and justifying arguments of their movement apparently arise from the prolonged unjust attitude exhibited by big powers towards countries which inhabitants profess Islam, particularly in resolving the Middle East conflict.


We should truly be prudent and sensible in the face of such a long outstanding issue. It is difficult to refute the impression that the policy on conflict resolution in the Middle East is not only unjust but also one-sided. Clearly, the Middle East problem is not a conflict of religions or of religious adherents though there might be some religious nuances in the issue.


We are very much aware of the background. Whatever the reason held by anyone of us, we all must admit that the absence of a just attitude, exacerbated by a feeling of being sidelined and ignored, in addition to the deficiency of formal means to channel aspiration, has cultivated a climate of violence to grow. In our view, this is actually the seed and root of the problem, which tends to grow and expand, and among others leads to even devastating and tragic acts of terror. Through this distinguished forum, I would like to appeal the world leaders to open the doors of their hearts in dealing with this crucial issue to world peace, welfare of humankind, and the destiny of human race. I believe we would be able to carry out this noble task, if we are prepared to look into it with clear hearts and minds. Indeed, we cannot be The Most Just. But, it is necessary to have just mind and attitude.


It is very depressing to observe that we have been very slow in understanding the root causes. The war in the Middle East a few months ago is just another reflection of the situation. The war has created far many more problems than those it intended to solve. I do believe that a great many lessons can be learnt from the Iraq War.

Mr. President,

In order to prevent, deter or eradicate the problem of international terrorism, I should like to propose that the countries, whose citizens become the main target of terrorist groups, should review their conventional anti-terrorism policies, particularly in dealing with the Arab­Israeli conflict. They should adopt a policy that ensures that all involved parties are given just and equal treatment.


Indeed, so many eminent Muslims in Indonesia believe that once the major powers behave in a more just manner and make clear their impartiality in the Middle East, then most of the root causes of terrorism, perpetrated in the name of Islam -which in any circumstances cannot be justified-would have been resolved.

As Head of State of the largest Moslem country in the world, I sincerely invite all world leaders to pay particular attention to this issue. Let us prevent the root causes of terrorism from spreading and triggering the emergence of other unsatisfactory aspiration, including in social and economic spheres. The failure to reach consensus in recent WTO meeting, and the still slow movement -if not to say stalemate- in the implementation of various social and economic global agendas would even complicate and proliferate the existing global problems.


We are all interested in making a more peaceful, stable, prosperous, just and humane world. Is not it the noble objective explicitly stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations at its inception in June 1945?


We are all aware that the world has been undergoing rapid changes. Technology has transformed the world and turned it like an open and almost borderless space. Human life and its inherent value system have been developing so fast. There are many orders or even instruments, both institutional and procedural, which require adjustment and improvement. Forty-three years ago, in 1960, our first President, Dr. Soekarno, spoke clearly on the issue. In his address entitled To Build the World Anew, to this very Assembly, he called on the need to reform the international order and relations among nations of the world.


Now, we all realize and recognize the truth of his call. We are indeed in need of fundamental reform. Should to that end this Organization need improvement in its performance to enable it to contribute more constructively towards the attainment of more peaceful, stable, just, prosperous and humane world, we must have the courage to review, revitalize and empower its institutions and working methods.


We must strengthen international cooperation and reinforce regional engagement. In Southeast Asia, we continue to enhance the role of ASEAN. Next month, at the ASEAN Summit that Indonesia will host in Bali, we expect to take concrete step towards forming an ASEAN Security Community that will support and complement our efforts at becoming an ASEAN Economic Community. I believe that stable, peaceful and prosperous ASEAN would significantly contribute to the realization of the UN objectives.


There are no easy tasks. But building a better region and more democratic world is worth all our patience and hard work. It is after all, our basic responsibility.


From Indonesia's own experience in striving to become a more fully democratic country, I know how difficult this kind of work can be. We are therefore aware that building a more democratic world is even more difficult. Nevertheless, I wish to reiterate that my country remains committed to fulfilling its international obligations and will continue to work with other Members of the United Nations to build a new world we dream of. Thank you.

New York, 23 September 2003