Opening Speech at The 2nd Meeting of The Conference on Cooperation Among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development
OPENING SPEECH BY
H.E. DR. SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
AT THE 2nd MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE ON COOPERATION AMONG EAST ASIAN COUNTRIES FOR PALESTINIAN DEVELOPMENT (CEAPAD)
GEDUNG PANCASILA, JAKARTA
1 MARCH 2014
Peace be upon us all,
Your Excellency Rami Hamdallah, Prime Minister of the State of Palestine,
Excellencies Ministers of Participating Countries,
Excellencies Ambassadors and Representatives of United Nations Agencies and International Organizations,
Distinguished Delegates and Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I wish to welcome all of you to Jakarta. And to those of you who are visiting Indonesia for the first time, I do hope you would find your brief stay a memorable one.
It is a great honour for the Government of Indonesia to host the second meeting of the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD). I believe you will ensure the successful outcomes of this conference by building on the achievement of the first CEAPAD meeting in Japan last year. I am also pleased to welcome the Business Forum and Trade Expo taking place in parallel to this important meeting. This forum will further open up economic opportunities for our brothers and sisters from Palestine.
We are gathered here today to reaffirm our solidarity with the Palestinian people. We are also here to assist them in realizing a free and sovereign state in their own homeland, by way of providing capacity building.
The people of Palestine have been struggling to achieve this dream for more than five and a half decades. Palestine was already in pursuit of this dream when the first generation of Asian and African leaders met in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955. The Bandung conference itself set into motion a global movement for freedom and independence among the oppressed all over the world.
Today, through our collective efforts in CEAPAD, we shall seize the momentum of renewed worldwide commitment to support Palestine. This certainly includes Asia-Africa’s efforts in the context of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP).
We shoulder the responsibility to help our brothers and sisters in Palestine ready to govern their future state. Therefore, providing them with capacity building programs is critical. We must ensure they are capable to provide essential services to their people, within the principles of good governance.
This conference allows us to conduct a need assessment, and at the same time identify what each of us can do within our respective circumstances. It was for this reason, that the NAASP Ministerial Meeting on Palestine in 2008 was initiated, so countries in Asian and African region can pledge their assistance in the form of capacity building for 10,000 Palestinians for a period of five years. And I look forward to the extension of that pledge for another five years during this meeting. Indonesia on its part has provided capacity building assistance to no less than 1,200 Palestinians.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The struggle of the Palestinian people reached a new height when the UN General Assembly recognized Palestine as a Non-member Observer State in November 2012. This was made possible with the firm support of 138 countries of Asia and Africa, together with countries from other parts of the world.
We look forward to the universal recognition of Palestine as an independent and sovereign state, and as a full member State of the United Nations. We can make this happen if we redouble our efforts to support them in nation and state-building.
We must also complement and add value to all existing mechanisms in support of Palestine. We should enhance the role of the private sectors in the Palestinian economic development efforts. I truly welcome the convening of international conference involving business leaders from East Asian countries, Palestine and also Arab countries under the framework of CEAPAD. Enhanced economic interactions will equip Palestinian business communities with ways and means to conduct business activities in a more globalized world. At the same time, this will hopefully open up better opportunities for the Palestinian Authority to attract foreign investment, and build the capacity of their SMEs.
An independent and economically viable state of Palestine—and not to mention as a full member State of the United Nations—will surely contribute to global peace and stability in the Middle East.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The fate of Palestine cannot be separated from that of the entire Middle East. Hence, this issue is one of the factors that define the relationship between the Middle East and the rest of the world.
In the past weeks, I have met with leaders from the Middle East, Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah II of Jordan and yesterday with Prime Minister of Palestine Rami Hamdallah. Our discussions were clear. We are firm in our commitment to contribute to global peace and prosperity, and to work tirelessly for a tolerant international society.
Today, we are still witnessing unsettled transformations all over the Middle East. Syria is still engulfed in internal conflict. Libya is struggling for durable peace and stability. And Egypt is still facing challenges in its democratic transition. Meanwhile, Tunisia and Algeria are largely on track on their democratization.
We pray that peace and stability will soon prevail in the Middle East. Bearing in mind the strategic location of this region, much is at stake for the world if prolonged uncertainty there remains. In this regard, allow me to share with you some views which Indonesia holds for the Middle East in the coming decades.
Firstly, we would like to see a Middle East that is at peace with itself and with the rest of the world. A Middle East where countries enjoy political stability and cooperate amicably with one another.
Secondly, we would like to see a Middle East where democratic consolidation may facilitate greater opportunities for its people to actively participate in their national development.
I believe, we can learn from one another’s experience in consolidating our democracies. In our region, we have the annual Bali Democracy Forum that encourages discussion on a home-grown democracy. I am pleased that representatives from some countries in the Middle East have continued to participate since the Forum’s inception in 2008. I am particularly pleased that 60 Palestinian representatives took part in the Forum last year.
Thirdly, we would like to see a Middle East that is free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. There is an absence of a nuclear-free zone treaty in the Middle East today. It needs one. The world is called upon to encourage the countries of the region to negotiate such an agreement.
Fourthly, we would like to see a Middle East that is prosperous, and therefore can contribute to the global economic recovery.
Finally, we would like to see a Middle East that is united and caring for one another. Based on our experience in the Southeast Asian region, this is indeed not an easy endeavor. But ASEAN has proven that after many decades of sustained efforts, we can build a more stable region based on mutual trust.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Sixty years after the landmark Asia Africa Conference, Palestine has not joined the community of nation as an independent and sovereign State. And yet they were the first generation participants of the Bandung conference in 1955.
Indonesia has been and will remain consistent in supporting the Palestinian pursuit for independence. It is our strong commitment to provide Palestine with not only political support, but also economic and development assistance. This is why CEAPAD becomes relevant and important.
And finally, by saying Bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I declare the second meeting of the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD) officially open.
DR. H. SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA