Thu, 17 Jul 2003

President to appoint five more ambassadors

Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

President Megawati Soekarnoputri is slated to appoint five more envoys on Thursday, but several important posts in Europe and Australia will remain vacant due to the complicated process of appointment.

The five new ambassadors will assigned to the European Union based in Brussels, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka and Libya.

A source at the presidential office told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, that the post in Sweden will remain empty, pending another selection, as the proposed candidate, Sulaiman Abdulmanan, would be maintained as ambassador to Belgium.

"I think there should be another selection process to determine a candidate for Stockholm as the foreign ministry has reconsidered its plan to move the Indonesian ambassador to Belgium to Stockholm," the official said.

Indonesia is waiting for the results of the legal process against the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) leaders now in exile in Sweden, who are said to have been involved terrorist activities here.

Stockholm is currently studying the evidence provided by Jakarta of the alleged involvement of Hasan Tiro, Zaini Abdullah and Malik Mahmood in terrorist activities. The three have Swedish citizenship.

Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hassan Wirayuda earlier said that Jakarta was considering downgrading its diplomatic relations with Sweden if Stockholm failed to take action against the GAM leaders.

However, Hassan contended that the delay in appointing an ambassador to Sweden had nothing to do with the ongoing legal standoff between the two countries.

According to the amended 1945 Constitution, the President has the right to appoint an ambassador, after hearing the House of Representatives' view on the appointment.

On several occasions, the government has also had to bow to the wishes of the House, including a request to retain Sulaiman in Brussels, instead of moving him to Stockholm.

The reasons why the ambassadorial post in Moscow and Canberra has been left vacant for a prolonged period was not immediately clear.


NAME COUNTRY BACKGROUND ---------------------------------------------------------------- Abdurrachman Matalitti European Union Career diplomat Donny Lo Anwar India Career diplomat Sudargo Mangunwidjojo Sri Lanka Career diplomat Wiyoso Prodjowarsito Myanmar Career diplomat Achmad Nawawi Hasbi Lybia Career diplomat ----------------------------------------------------------------