Search

 

Cablegate: Middle East -- Underscoring the Usg's Commitment

VZCZCXRO8655
OO RUEHBZ RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #3275/01 3331003
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291003Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7209
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHJA/ISLAMIC CONFERENCE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1661
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 2085
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1207
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 3577
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 0475
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0755
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0135
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 003275

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, NEA, NEA/IR, NEA/IPA
NSC FOR EPHU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KISL ID IS XF
SUBJECT: MIDDLE EAST -- UNDERSCORING THE USG'S COMMITMENT
TO PEACE

REF: A. JAKARTA 3166 B. JAKARTA 725

JAKARTA 00003275 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) This message is Sensitive But Unclassifed -- Please
handle accordingly.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: The DCM and the Palestinian Ambassador to
Indonesia participated in a public discussion on the
Annapolis Conference on November 28. In a country where for
many years such public discussions have typically turned into
blistering attacks on the U.S., the audience that attended
this event sponsored by a leading Muslim organization was
refreshingly open-minded about the prospects for progress.
Reacting to Annapolis, media commentary here has been mixed,
while noting that there is still much work needed to be done
by the parties. END SUMMARY.

3. (SBU) CORDIAL DISCUSSION: On November 28, the DCM
joined Palestinian Ambassador Fariz Mehdawi in a public
discussion on the "Viability of the Annapolis Conference and
the Future of the Palestinian State." The English-language
discussion was organized on short notice by the Centre for
Dialogue and Cooperation Among Civilizations, a think-tank
founded by Din Syamsuddin, chair of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's
second-largest Muslim organization with over 30 million
members.

4. (SBU) About 50 influential Indonesians and diplomats
attended, including ambassadors from Egypt and Lebanon, top
level civil society figures, Muslim leaders and youth, senior
foreign affairs officials, members of parliament, and several
journalists. Syamsuddin, despite his recent public
skepticism regarding the Annapolis Conference, set the
cordial tone of the discussion by stating the evening would
be a friendly exchange of views. The moderator, Uni Lubis,
head of news at ANTV, a local television channel, began the
discussion by describing her recent visit to Israel and
Palestinian areas as part of a delegation of senior
Indonesian journalists invited by Israel.

5. (SBU) ENVOY'S REMARKS: Palestinian Ambassador Fariz
Mehdawi led off with remarks that the international community
is essential to solving the conflict, adding, "President Bush
said two states is the solution, and he is the first
president to state this clearly." He said the U.S. realizes
the strategic importance of solving this issue because of the
danger that rising radicalism poses to the world. Other key
players in the Middle East are also actively supporting the
peace process in Annapolis. Secretary Rice has been visiting
the region frequently and the two sides have been working
hard to establish a dialogue. After so many broken promises,
Annapolis is a starting point, Mehdawi said, adding: "We are
optimistic. We hope that all the parties that come to
Annapolis will remain with us." One negative theme in his
remarks was the need for the U.S. to actively pressure Israel
for concessions.


6. (SBU) STRESSING KEY POINTS: DCM highlighted the
Department's themes on the Annapolis Conference and the Joint
Understanding. The DCM noted that the conference is the most
serious engagement between Israel and Palestine in a long
time, an opportunity that the parties should seize, and that
there is a timeline which the two parties have agreed upon.
Annapolis is the beginning of a long process, he said.
President Bush is the first President to state the two-state
solution so clearly. DCM added that the goals of the 40-plus
countries with representatives in Annapolis were the same --
Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and
security.

7. (SBU) REBUTTAL ON HAMAS ISSUE: The DCM rebuffed
Ambassador Mehdawi's criticism that the U.S. has been a
neutral bystander by noting our very proactive role. He
responded to a comment by an M.P. from a Muslim political
party that Hamas should be part of the process by pointing
out that "it is entirely unreasonable to expect one party to
negotiate with another party which does not recognize its

JAKARTA 00003275 002.2 OF 002


right to exist." The DCM commended Indonesian Foreign
Minister Hassan Wirajuda's participation at the conference
and the valuable input he has given to Secretary Rice in
prior discussions. Referring to Indonesia's refusal to
recognize Israel, the DCM noted that this discussion in
Jakarta would have been even better if Israel were sitting on
the panel.

8. (SBU) AUDIENCE BALANCED: Audience comment was
surprisingly free of diatribe against the U.S. and Israel.
One of Indonesia's leading intellectual lights, Clara
Joewono, Vice Chair of the Centre for Strategic and
International Studies (CSIS), said she is optimistic for the
first time in years because of this initiative. She added
that President Bush's statement that Palestinians should have
a state is significant. One elderly women, a civil society
leader, who has visited Israel, reflected the general tone of
the audience by saying, "I don't know the essence of the
Annapolis conference but I do hope that it can achieve peace.
The Palestinians and Israelis are ultimately brothers and
sisters."

9. (SBU) MEDIA PUSH GOI ROLE: Reacting to Annapolis,
Indonesian media has devoted extensive news coverage and
several editorial pieces to the conference. Foreign Minister
Wirajuda was quoted before the conference on November 24 as
saying, "By participating in the conference, Indonesia
hopefully can contribute to peace and help end conflict
between Arabs and Israelis." Several editorials have urged
Indonesia to take an active and neutral role to promote
dialogue between the two sides. English-language daily "The
Jakarta Post" commented November 29 that Indonesia "can play
its part" by convincing Hamas it will not get international
sympathy if it continues to deny the existence of Israel.
Leading daily "Kompas" commented November 28, "Indonesia must
change its approach from an exclusive one to an inclusive
one, to become a mediator, a neutral party so that Indonesia
better understands what both parties want." A small
anti-Annapolis Conference rally was held by several Muslim
organizations in front of the U.S. Embassy on November 27.
The rally received little coverage.

10. (SBU) U.S. ROLE APPRECIATED: Indonesian officials and
the public have been very skeptical of the Middle East peace
process in the past and such public discussions as this one
usually produce criticism of the U.S. The climate of the
November 28 discussion sponsored by Muhammidiyah was very
constructive, however, perhaps partly due to its
English-language format. Besides our clear and popular
statement of support for a two-state policy, the Indonesian
government participation in the conference seemed to raise
the credibility of the process for Indonesians. Over all,
Indonesians seem positive about what happened at Annapolis,
but realistic that much more progress is required by parties.
HUME

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ramzy Baroud: Year in Review Will 2018 Usher in a New Palestinian Strategy

2017 will be remembered as the year that the so-called ‘peace process’, at least in its American formulation, has ended. And with its demise, a political framework that has served as the foundation for US foreign policy in the Middle East has also collapsed. More>>

ALSO:


North Korea: NZ Denounces Missile Test

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has denounced North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test. The test, which took place this morning, is North Korea’s third test flight of an inter-continental ballistic missile. More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike.

Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures.

Once upon a time, the Soviet Union was the nightmare threat for the entire Cold War era – and since then the US has cast the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Islamic State in the same demonic role. Iran is now the latest example…More


Catalan Independence:
Pro-independence parties appear to have a narrow majority. More>>