Thu, 04 May 2000

Misunderstanding Gus Dur

News reports published in some newspapers in recent days have drawn the conclusion that President Abdurrahman Wahid said he would retire in September this year, based on an interview with the President published in the Australian Financial Review on April 28, 2000.

This is not correct. In the interview he said that before he became president he had a plan to retire at 60 years of age. He also said that he wished his presidency to finish soon, but that he would not step aside until he had achieved his goals.

President Abdurrahman Wahid did not say that he would retire in September 2000.

His words were: "You know, my idea was to live at peace after 60 years of life. To write a book, to lead a pesantren (Islamic boarding school), and then I was catapulted into the presidency. I hope that it can be over soon.

"If possible, I would like to have it as short as possible, but if necessary I will have to go to see the completion of the term. That's what I mean by the ideology of human rights, of the rule of law; it's more important to me than anything else. It's my life".

I hope this clarifies any confusion which has arisen.


Indonesia Correspondent

Australian Financial Review