Indonesia + 1 more

Activities of the Secretary-General in Indonesia 15-17 Feb 2000

The Secretary-General arrived in Jakarta from Singapore late in the morning of Tuesday, 15 February. He began his official programme in Indonesia in the early afternoon with a one-on-one meeting with Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab. In a session with full delegations that followed, they discussed the aftermath of President Wahid's "deactivation" of General Wiranto as a member of the Cabinet. The Foreign Minister expressed relief that the crisis had passed. "We're all in a good mood", he said.

They talked of the situations in Aceh, as well as in Ambon in the Moluccas, and the Minister was hopeful that all issues could eventually be resolved. They discussed economic and financial reforms in Indonesia, the United Nations' relations with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the plight of East Timor refugees in West Timor. "Full access to the people in the camps is essential", the Secretary-General said.

The Secretary-General then went to the parliament building, where he met with Amien Rais, the Chairman of the wider parliament, called the Peoples' Consultative Assembly, which includes not only lawmakers, but representatives of civil society and the military. They discussed the challenges of multiple transition that Indonesia was going through -- the transition to democracy and the separation from East Timor. They also talked about the impact of the financial crisis on Indonesia and the country's efforts at reform.

The Secretary-General also met with the Speaker of the Parliament, Akbar Tandjung. The discussed many of the same issues.

He then went to the United Nations building in Jakarta, where he met with representatives of United Nations agencies working in the country and addressed the staff.

That evening he attended a dinner hosted by the Foreign Minister.

The Secretary-General began the second and final day of his official visit to Indonesia with a meeting with the Minister of Defence, Juwono Sudarsono, who is the first civilian in 33 years to be appointed to that post. They discussed Indonesia's follow up to their human rights commission report on the violence in East Timor. They also discussed the issue of East Timorese refugees in West Timor.

The Secretary-General then went to the Presidential Palace, where he first met privately with President Abdurrahman Wahid and Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri. They were then joined by their delegations. The ensuing discussion focused on the democratic changes taking place in Indonesia, the effort to bring to trial those responsible for the violence in East Timor last year, the turbulence in Aceh and the Mollucan Islands and plans for economic and financial reform.

Back at his hotel, the Secretary-General had a brief conversation with Paul Volker, former Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Board, and a private meeting with the former Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Ali Alatas.

The Secretary-General then gave an address to the Indonesian Council of World Affairs on the theme "Unity in Diversity", which is a fifteenth century motto on Indonesia's official seal. He mentioned the separatism facing Indonesia and other countries, saying that "Breaking up large States into smaller ones is often a wasteful and unimaginative way of resolving political difficulties." He said he could not think of a better motto for the world, as a whole, than "Unity in Diversity" (see Press Release SG/SM/7303). After the speech, he took questions from the audience.

He then met with the Foreign Minister of Iran, Kamal Kharazzi, before departing for a meeting with the Indonesian National Committee on Human Rights. With the Committee members, he discussed ways the United Nations could support their work.

After that, he met with the new Attorney General of Indonesia, Marzuki Darusman, who had previously been head of the National Committee on Human Rights. They discussed the forthcoming trial of those named by the Committee in connection with the atrocities in East Timor. The Attorney General said he would like access to the files of the United Nations Human Rights Commission's Special Inquiry on East Timor, as well as a cooperative agreement with the United Natons Mission now in the territory. They also discussed other ways to cooperate with each other.

The Secretary-General then saw the Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare and Poverty Alleviation, who is responsible for refugees and internally displaced persons. He described the Government's plan for the resettlement of East Timorese refugees in West Timor.

The last appointment for the day was with General Wiranto's successor as Coordinating Minister for Security and Political Affairs, Lieutenant General (Ret.) Suryadi Soedirdja. They discussed the country's reform efforts and the plight of refugees in West Timor. The Minister expressed his optimism that these problems could be overcome. The Secretary-General said that there was strong international support for Indonesia's democratization efforts, and said that the United Nations was prepared to help in any way possible.

The Secretary-General departed Jakarta for East Timor early on Thursday morning, 17 February.