Cablegate: Interfaith Youth Deliver Potus Letter to Ambassador

DE RUEHJA #3229/01 3210659
R 170659Z NOV 06




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. In advance of President Bush's upcoming visit to
Indonesia, a group of Indonesian interfaith youth leaders met
with the Ambassador to present a letter to the President
(full text in para 6). The delegates represented all of
Indonesia's major religions: Islam (the youth wings of
mass-based Muslim organizations Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul
Ulama); Christianity (Catholic Youth and the Protestant
Indonesian Young Christians' Movement); Buddhism (the Young
Generation of Indonesian Buddhists); Confucianism (Confucian
Youth); and Hinduism (the Indonesian Hindu Youth Association).

2. After thanking the Ambassador for receiving them, a
delegate read the organizations' letter to President Bush.
While condemning the September 11th terrorist attacks and
expressing support for eradicating terrorism, the missive
characterized the war on terror as "irrational and
unacceptable," adding that "war is not the answer." The
group further contended that the U.S. "occupation" of
Afghanistan and Iraq might result in a "new generation of
terrorist(s)." They urged the USG to put an end to
"hegemonic and double standard policies;" cease using
military action against independent states; promote a
"culture of peace" for dialogue and mediation-based conflict
resolution; and work with other nations on UN reform so that
it may "play a more effective role in maintaining
international peace and security and development." The
letter concluded in saying that the signatories do not hate
Americans, but simply disagree with U.S. foreign policy.

3. The Ambassador welcomed the group and promised to forward
their letter. He did take exception, however, with the
delegation's contention that U.S. foreign policy has been
destabilizing. He argued that since World War II, U.S.
foreign policy has focused on improving global stability
through democratization and economic development, founding
the United Nations precisely as a vehicle for implementing
this. He noted the particular success of U.S. foreign policy
in encouraging European reunification and fostering economic
development and democracy in East Asia. With regard to
Afghanistan, the Ambassador said he had no qualms about
deposing a regime that harbored a terrorist group responsible
for killing more than 3000 people on September 11, adding
that the Afghan people welcomed the Taliban's demise. On
Iraq, the Ambassador refuted the groups' claim that the U.S.
is an occupying force, emphasizing that U.S. troops will
leave as soon as the country is stabilized.

4. The Muslim Ansor Youth representative commented that in
his view, terrorism must be fought throughout the world.
However, he suggested, many groups believe that the U.S. uses
the war on terror to exert political pressure
inappropriately. He asked that the U.S. see Indonesia as a
friend, and that the bilateral relationship be a symbiotic
one. The Protestant leader acknowledged the common interests
between the predominately Christian U.S. and the Indonesian
Christian community. He cautioned, though, that U.S. actions
sometimes had negative repercussions for Christians in
Indonesia, and said that although they may be America's
correligionists, Indonesian Christians were Indonesians
first. He hoped that the U.S. and Indonesia could work
together on what he called the most important issues:
poverty and education.

5. The Ambassador responded that the U.S.'s relationship
with Indonesian is not based on counterterrorism, although it
is an important aspect of U.S. policy. Rather, the U.S. has
a strong relationship with Indonesia because it is the
world's fourth largest country, and the third and fourth
biggest countries must work together. He stressed USG
support for Government of Indonesia policies, and said that
the U.S.'s number one priority is ensuring that Indonesia
succeeds as a prosperous democracy that is a friend on
international issues. To this end, U.S. assistance to
Indonesia is focused on health, education and other
Indonesian priorities. He added that the U.S. does not
expect that Indonesia will agree with us on everything, but
said that is acceptable in a democracy.

6. Text of letter.

Jakarta, November 17th, 2006

His Excellency
George W. Bush
President of the United States of America

Dear Mr. President,

First of all, we would like to express our gratitude to Your

JAKARTA 00013229 002 OF 002

Excellency for taking the time to read this letter. On
behalf of Indonesian Interfaith Youth Organisations we
strongly disagree with your hegemonic foreign policies which
worsening global world order. There is a hope by the end of
the Cold War, marked by the fall of Berlin Wall, US would
take an initiative to create new world order that ensure the
establishment of a more civilised, just and peaceful world.
But soon the hope had proven untrue.

For your information, we condemned in the strongest possible
manner the September 11, 2001 tragedy, a terrorist attack
causing death and injuries of thousands of innocent Americans
and other nationalities. We are in line with you that
terrorism is the enemy of humankind that should be conquered
together. However, your campaign on "War on Terror" that
justifies the war in Afghanistan and Iraq are irrational and
unacceptable. Your Excellency must realise that war is not
the answer. One can not democratize a country with
undemocratic ways. Your wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in
fact, have been creating culture of violence and hatred which
in long run will bring disadvantages to America.
Furthermore, Iraq and Afghanistan as your occupation
territories could turn into fertile soils to cultivate new
generation of terrorist.

In this regard we strongly urge American government to:

1. End your hegemonic and double standard foreign policies
that suffer, especially, developing countries.

2. Stop invasion and aggression as well as using military
actions to any independence states.

3. Promote a culture of peace to resolve disputes among
states and nations through dialogue and mediation.

4. Take serious initiatives together with other countries to
continually reform the United Nations so that it could play a
more effective role in maintaining international peace and
security and development.

Finally, we welcome you to Indonesia and we do hope that our
voices be heard. We never hate our American friends; we just
disagree with your unjust foreign policies.

Best Regard,
Indonesian Youth Religious Organisations

M. Izzul Muslimin, Chairman, Muhammadiyah Youth

A. Malik Haramain, Secretary General, Ansor Youth (Nahdlatul

I. Nyoman Gde Agus Asrama, Chairman, Indonesian Hindu Youth

Ponijan Liaw, Chairman, Young Generation of Indonesian

Sahat Sinaga, Chairman, Indonesian Young Christians' Movement

M.T. Natalis Situmorang, Chaiman, Catholic Youth

Kristan, Chairman, Confucian Youth

End text.


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