Indonesian president ‘honored’ to have UAE street named after him

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the ceremony for the renaming of Al-Ma’arid Street to President Joko Widodo Street. (Supplied)
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Updated 22 October 2020

Indonesian president ‘honored’ to have UAE street named after him

  • Abu Dhabi’s Al-Ma’arid Street renamed President Joko Widodo Street

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Tuesday said it was “an honor” for him and his country that a street in the UAE capital had been named after him.

Al-Ma’arid Street, one of Abu Dhabi’s key roads, was on Monday renamed President Joko Widodo Street during a ceremony that coincided with the first anniversary of the Indonesian leader’s inauguration for a second term in office.

Writing on social media, Widodo said: “It is a recognition and an honor, not only for me, but for Indonesia.” He also expressed hope that the two countries’ relations would be “stronger, mutually strengthening, and beneficial for the people of the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia.”

Indonesia’s ambassador to the UAE, Husin Bagis, told Arab News: “The initiative to rename the street after President Joko Widodo came from His Highness (Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan), who also presided over the street renaming ceremony on the spot.”

The envoy said that the street was near to the future location of the Indonesian Embassy compound, which was currently under construction.

According to UAE news agency WAM, the crown prince has also directed officials to build a mosque named after Widodo, in Abu Dhabi’s Diplomatic Area, in recognition of the Indonesian president’s close friendship with the UAE and his efforts to strengthen the relationship.

Indonesia-UAE relations have grown closer since Widodo’s visit to Abu Dhabi in January, during which he secured investment projects worth $22.9 billion in what has officially been described as the biggest trade deal in the country’s history. The visit was to reciprocate the crown prince’s trip to Indonesia in July 2019.

Recent cooperation agreements between the two countries have included plans for the construction of a mosque on a plot of land in Widodo’s hometown of Solo in Central Java.

The mosque will be a replica of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and serve as an Islamic center offering training for clerics. A groundbreaking ceremony is slated to take place in December.

Widodo is the latest Indonesian leader to be celebrated through an honorific street name in a foreign country. In Rabat, Morocco’s capital, Avenue Sukarno was named after Indonesia’s first president, while Mohammed Hatta Street in Haarlem, the Netherlands, recognizes the Southeast Asian country’s first vice president. Sukarno and Hatta are considered the fathers of Indonesia’s independence.

The name of the country’s third president, B. J. Habibie, appears on a bridge in Dili, the capital of East Timor, in honor of his decision to hold a referendum there which allowed East Timor to secede from Indonesia.


Swiss stabbing suspect ‘linked to extremism inquiry’

Updated 7 min 4 sec ago

Swiss stabbing suspect ‘linked to extremism inquiry’

  • A woman was arrested after allegedly trying to strangle one woman with her bare hands and stabbing another in the neck in a Lugano department store
  • Switzerland has never suffered a major extremist attack, but police and officials highlighted several recent incidents being investigated for possible terrorist motives

GENEVA: A woman arrested for a knife attack in a Swiss department store was linked to a 2017 extremism investigation and spent time in a psychiatric clinic, police said on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old was held on Tuesday after allegedly trying to strangle one woman with her bare hands and stabbing another in the neck.

The second victim in the attack, in Lugano in southern Switzerland, was said to be seriously wounded.

“The perpetrator is known to @FedpolCH,” the federal police said on Twitter. “She appeared in a police investigation in 2017 in connection with extremism.”

Police had discovered at the time that the woman had formed a relationship on social media with an extremist fighter in Syria.

She had attempted to travel to Syria to meet the man, but was stopped by Turkish authorities at the Syrian border and was sent back to Switzerland.

“The woman was suffering from mental health problems,” police said, adding that she had been admitted to a psychiatric clinic.

She had not been on the radar of the federal police since then, the tweet said.

During Tuesday’s incident, the woman was overpowered by customers in the shop before officers arrived.

The regional police later mentioned a possible terror motive behind the attack.

“The situation is extremely serious,” said Norman Gobbi, head of the Ticino regional government.

The Swiss federal police said criminal proceedings were under way.

“This attack does not surprise me,” federal police chief Nicoletta della Valle said Tuesday, underlining that such attacks occurred all over the world.

Switzerland has never suffered a major extremist attack, but police and officials highlighted several recent incidents being investigated for possible terrorist motives.

And two Swiss nationals aged 18 and 24 were arrested near Zurich over alleged links to the perpetrator of a deadly attack in neighboring Austria’s capital Vienna earlier this month.

After Tuesday’s incident, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted that he condemned the “extremist terrorist attack” in Lugano.

“We stand with Switzerland in these difficult hours,” he wrote.

“We’ll give a joint response to extremist terrorism in Europe and defend our values.”

A Daesh sympathizer who had tried to join the extremist group in Syria was behind the attack in Vienna, in which four people were killed and several others injured.