Palestine a foreign policy priority, Indonesian leaders tell Pompeo

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Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (R) welcomes US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the presidential palace in Jakarta on August 5, 2018. (AFP / POOL / ADI WEDA)
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets wotj Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in Jakarta on August 5, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 05 August 2018

Palestine a foreign policy priority, Indonesian leaders tell Pompeo

  • Widodo reiterated his country's position that the |two-state solution is the only way forward” 
  • Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi says she also raised the same issue in her meeting with Pompeo

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Sunday expressed hope to visiting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the US will continue contributing to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. 

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Widodo reiterated that Palestine is a priority in Indonesia’s foreign policy, and that “the two-state solution is the only way forward.” 

Marsudi and Pompeo met for about 30 minutes at the Foreign Ministry, and the latter left without giving a press statement. 

Marsudi said she also raised the issue of Palestine with Pompeo as “the Indonesian government and people pay immense attention and support to the Palestinian people’s struggle.”

Pompeo “didn’t reject the two-state solution,” she told Arab News. “He said it would take some time to be able to develop a peace plan.”

During his two-day visit, Pompeo also discussed plans to commemorate 70 years of US-Indonesian diplomatic relations next year. 

Marsudi said she proposed that the theme for the commemoration be “to celebrate our diversity” and “prosper together as strategic partners.” 

The “trade war between the US and China” will “affect all countries, including Indonesia,” she added. 

Marsudi said Widodo asked Pompeo to keep Indonesia on the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) list, which eliminates duties on products imported from designated countries and territories. 

In April, the US said it was reviewing the eligibility of Indonesia, India and Kazakhstan due to concerns about their compliance with the GSP, including Indonesia’s implementation of barriers to trade and investment that adversely impact American commerce. 

Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita went to the US last month to discuss the issue with Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Keeping Indonesia in the GSP would be a win-win situation for both countries, Lukita said. 

Indonesian commodities included in the GSP are rubber, car tires, gold, alumina, vehicle wiring, fatty acids, metal jewelry, loudspeakers, batteries, keyboards and music instruments. 

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo thanked Marsudi for Indonesia’s leadership role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and congratulated the country on its upcoming term in the UN Security Council.  

Pompeo and Marsudi “also discussed bilateral cooperation and multilateral engagement on regional security challenges, including the DPRK (North Korea) and counterterrorism, as well as other foreign policy issues of mutual interest,” Nauert said. 

Pompeo said he had a “productive” meeting with Marsudi, tweeting: “We reaffirmed our close bilateral relationship and strong US-Indonesia strategic partnership, as we look ahead to marking 70 years of diplomatic ties.”

Curtains close on Jaipur Literature Festival

Updated 6 min 29 sec ago

Curtains close on Jaipur Literature Festival

  • This year’s themes were current trends in politics, wider society, the economy, art, and literature

NEW DELHI: The 13th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) came to a close on Monday after registering a footfall of more than 400,000 visitors during the five-day event, which saw the participation of more than 500 speakers from 30 countries.

What started as a small event in the western Indian city of Jaipur in 2007 has gone on to become one of the most prestigious literary festivals in the world, so much so that the Diggi Palace, an expansive medieval structure which was used as the venue for the JLF every year, became overcrowded this year, forcing organizers to look for a new venue for 2021.

This year’s themes were current trends in politics, wider society, the economy, art, and literature.

With India witnessing continuous protests against new citizenship legislation introduced by the government, most of the political discussions revolved around the issue, with many drawing attention to the danger it posed to the constitution and the secular fabric of the country.

Changes taking place in the Arab world were also part of this year’s discourse with four Arab authors speaking at the JLF.