JAKARTA: Indonesia’s foreign minister has called on G20 countries to push for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as the group’s top diplomats gathered for the first ministerial meeting under Brazil’s presidency.
Foreign ministers of the group of the 20 biggest global economies gathered in Rio de Janeiro Feb. 21-22 to address international issues and set a roadmap for work to accomplish ahead of a leaders’ summit in November.
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Israel’s ongoing onslaught on Gaza was an “atrocity that goes beyond any plausible justification,” as she addressed a session on the G20’s role in the wake of global tensions.
“G20 must act now to end this crisis … First, push for an immediate and permanent ceasefire at any cost,” Marsudi told the participants.
“This is the ultimate game-changer to stop the bloodshed, ease humanitarian suffering, and create a conducive environment for a fair negotiation toward a two-state solution.”
More than 29,300 Palestinians have died with over 69,000 injured during four months of Israel’s military operations in Gaza, according to the enclave’s health authorities.
Indonesia has long been among the Palestinian peoples’ most vocal advocates in multiple international forums, and is among more than 50 countries which are presenting arguments at the International Court of Justice this week in a case against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.
Indonesia’s stance is partly informed by seeing Palestinian statehood as mandated by the nation’s constitution, which calls for the abolition of colonialism.
In Brazil, Marsudi also urged other G20 nations to avoid double standards and to work together to lower global tensions and prevent further escalation.
“We cannot stand by and watch this horror unfold. We cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of civilians, including women and children. We cannot ignore our moral and legal obligations to protect human rights and uphold international law,” she said.
“We must not stand idly as Israel continues to destroy homes, hospitals, schools, and refugee camps … Now, more than ever, Palestine needs our solidarity and help.”
She also appealed to G20 members to increase their support for Palestine, including through the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which has suffered funding cuts after Israel accused some of its staff of being involved in the Oct. 7 attack by Gaza-based militant group Hamas.
“We have to show the world that we are united and capable of being a catalyst for positive change to any crisis,” Marsudi said. “Let us show to the world that we, G20 members, are contributors to peace and stability.”