Thu, 20 Nov 2003

New RI ambassadors to be inaugurated today

Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government is scheduled on Thursday to install envoys in a number of posts, including those in Australia and Russia, which have been vacant for almost a year.

However, as of Wednesday evening only seven of the 16 presidential decrees on the appointments had been completed, according to the State Secretariat.

The current deputy chief of mission of the Indonesian embassy in Canberra, Imron Cotan will be inaugurated as ambassador.

Senior journalist and former chief editor of The Jakarta Post Susanto Pudjomartono will also be inaugurated as ambassador to Russia.

In 1991, former chief editor of the Post, Sabam Siagian, was appointed as Indonesian ambassador to Canberra.

These positions have been vacant for almost a year, due to the new regulation of the amended 1945 Constitution, which requires the recommendation of the House of Representatives.

The right to appoint the country's representative or to accept foreign ambassadors used to be the prerogative of the president.

Under the new ruling, all ambassadorial candidates must pass the House screening test, whereby their mission statement must be presented to the House members.

The regulation has created dissenting opinions between the House and the government regarding the selection of candidates, which has often delayed the appointment process. According to international custom an ambassadorial post should not be vacant for more than three months.

The House and the government had tried to work out these differences and to find easier procedures for appointing ambassadors.

As of Wednesday evening, in the state ceremony on Thursday at the presidential palace, President Megawati Soekarnoputri is scheduled to inaugurate seven ambassadors.

"But we are still waiting for the rest of the presidential decrees to be signed by the president, because we had prepared decrees for 16 ambassadors," a state secretary official told The Jakarta Post.

The official, requesting anonymity, said that there was a possibility that early Thursday morning the decrees for the remaining nine appointed ambassadors would be delivered from Megawati's desk. "But we cannot say for certain whether the decrees will be finalized tomorrow morning," the official added.

LIST OF AMBASSADORS TO BE INAUGURATED ----------------------------------------------------------------

NAMES COUNTRIES ---------------------------------------------------------------- Imron Cotan Australia Perwito Rini Denmark, Lithuania Faiza Hassan Greece Abdul Wahid Qatar Susanto Pudjomartono Russia Bambang Prayitno Vatican Ratna Artha Ulli Vietnam