Thu, 18 Sep 2003

RI regrets UNSC failure to adopt resolution on Israel

Fabiola Desy Unidjaja The Jakarta Post Jakarta

The government expressed regret on Wednesday over the failure of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to adopt a resolution on the Middle East, saying a veto by the United States prevented any progress in the region.

However, the government vowed to continue working closely with the international community to achieve peace in the Middle East.

"This failure, as a result of a veto cast by the United States, is all the more regrettable as there had been overwhelming support for the council to demand that Israel desist from any act of deportation, and cease all threats to the safety of President Yasser Arafat," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"The veto might be construed as inaction against Israel, while it is understood that the United States itself has put pressure on Israel to refrain from carrying out its decision (on Arafat)," the statement said.

The U.S. vetoed on Tuesday (Wednesday Jakarta time) a resolution demanding Israel not harm or deport Arafat, saying the resolution should have included condemnation of acts of terrorism by Palestinian militant group Hamas.

"We will not support any resolution that evades the explicit threat to the Middle East peace process posed by Hamas and other such terrorist groups," said John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as quoted by Agence France-Presse.

Eleven of the 15 council members voted in favor of the resolution, which was sponsored by Syria, the only Arab nation on the council, at the request of Palestine. Britain, Bulgaria and Germany abstained.

The veto drew criticism from around the world, including France and other major nations.

The Indonesian government reiterated its intention to mobilize support for Palestine at the upcoming UN General Assembly.

"Indonesia will continue working closely with the rest of the international community, including within the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement, to ensure that Israel immediately overturn its decision (on Arafat)," the foreign ministry statement said.

The government also reiterated its position that Arafat had an indispensable role to play in any effort to end the conflict in the region.

Former foreign affairs minister Ali Alatas, meanwhile, said the unjust treatment of the Palestinians was helping to fuel terrorism.

"One of the root causes of international terrorism is the unsettled Palestinian cause," Ali said after meeting with President Megawati Soekarnoputri.

He said it was clear that the injustices suffered by the Palestinians continued to be fertile ground for terrorism.