Indonesian President Joko Widodo urges Biden to help end Gaza ‘atrocities’ | Politics News
Widodo calls for a ceasefire ‘for the sake of humanity’ as he sits down with the US president at the White House.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has pressed his US counterpart Joe Biden to do more to end “atrocities” in Gaza and help with a ceasefire.
The talks between the two leaders on Monday were overshadowed by the month-long war between Israel and Hamas in which the US fully supported Israel.
Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, attended a conference of Arab and Muslim leaders in Riyadh at the weekend that condemned Israel and called for a ceasefire.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country and has seen massive protests in support of the Palestinians as well as boycotts of businesses seen as having ties to Israel.
“Indonesia wants the US to do more to stop the atrocities in Gaza,” Widodo said in the Oval Office as the two presidents met in the White House in front of a fire. roasted.
“Rest is essential to the cause of mankind.”
Violence erupted on October 7 after the armed group Hamas, which rules Gaza, launched a surprise attack on Israel killing around 1,200 people and arresting more than 200. In response Israel imposed a total blockade on Gaza and has been bombing the Gaza Strip ever since, killing at least 11,000 Palestinians.
US officials have said Biden wants Indonesia to “play a bigger role” in the Middle East, which could include “the cease-fire issue” but also long-term goals such as a two-state solution after the war and the reconstruction of Gaza.
While Washington has put its full support behind Israel, it has recently begun to call for more restraint and a “pause” in the fighting that would allow the delivery of humanitarian aid or the release of its prisoners. Hamas.
‘The New Age of Relationships’
The Jokowi-Biden meeting comes ahead of talks between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, as well as a major summit of leaders from APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation), which is taking place in San Francisco. China and Indonesia are both members of APEC.
The US aims to upgrade cooperation with Indonesia to a so-called comprehensive strategic partnership, the highest diplomatic level, as it deepens alliances in the Asia Pacific region. Biden revealed a similar update on ties with Vietnam when he visited Hanoi in September.
“This will mark a new era of relations between the United States and Indonesia in general, affecting everything,” Biden said as he sat next to Jokowi.
The deep crisis in Myanmar was also up for discussion. The country plunged into turmoil in February 2021, when the military seized power from the government of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The conflict between the army and the armed groups that are fighting against the coup has increased in the last few weeks.
The US and other mainly Western countries have imposed sanctions but the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been unsuccessful, while banning Myanmar’s top generals from their summits , in holding the military accountable. Indonesia is the outgoing chairman of the 10-member group that welcomed Myanmar as a member some 25 years ago with Laos next to take the lead.
“The time has come soon for us to think about our next steps together to deal with an untenable situation,” the officials told Reuters.
Biden and Jokowi’s talks also covered new cooperation in defense areas such as cybersecurity, and an additional role on climate with the US due to the announcement of measures by the Southeast Asian country on carbon capture and storage, which ‘ supporting the electricity grid and improving air quality.
Amid rising geopolitical tensions, Jokowi wanted to emphasize Indonesia’s longstanding neutrality.
“Indonesia is always open to cooperation with any country, and not to take the side of any power, but only to take the side of peace and humanity,” he said.