Indonesia against turning South-East Asia into 'pawn of rivalries', Retno tells United Nations

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi addresses the 78th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on September 23, 2023. - AFP

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 24 (Bernama-Anadolu): Indonesia said Saturday that South-East Asia will not become a "pawn of rivalries” as it emphasised reinforcing regional cooperation.

"Instead, South-East Asia must be an epicentre of growth, where all countries can benefit meaningfully,” Anadolu Agency quoted Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi as saying at the 78th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York.

"Regional institutions should be net contributors and building blocks for global peace and prosperity,” she said. "Indonesia had to navigate Asean through such geopolitical dynamics in the region,” she added, noting her country’s presidency this year of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean).

Indonesia chairs Asean in 2023 and held its annual summit of leaders earlier this month.

The South-East Asian region has seen the world’s top two rivals, the United States and China, asserting their influence among regional nations.

"Inclusivity will forever be the pillar for our region’s architecture building,” said Retno.

On Myanmar, she said: "implementation of the Five-Point Consensus remains the main reference.”

"Asean continues to urge the military junta to implement it. Asean will spare no effort to ensure the people of Myanmar are not left behind,” she said.

Regretting that the UN member nations "do not walk the talk,” the Indonesian foreign minister called for "upholding respect for international law, particularly the fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

"This will ensure that disputes would be settled on the negotiating table rather than at the battlefield,” she added.

Calling for "collective responsibility to save” the people of Palestine and Afghanistan, Marsudi said: "For far too long we have allowed our Palestinian brothers and sisters to suffer.”

"Indonesia will not back an inch in our support for Palestinian statehood,” she said.

On Afghanistan, Marsudi said: "Indonesia would do its utmost to help the Afghan people and ensure the rights of women and girls are respected, including their rights to education.” - Bernama-Anadolu

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