Sat, 29 Apr 2000

RI to join meeting on democracy in Warsaw

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia will participate in the international conference on "Toward a Community of Democracies" in Warsaw, Poland, on June 26 and 27.

The new Polish Ambassador to Indonesia Krzysztof Szumski told the media on Friday night that Minister of Foreign Affairs Alwi Shihab was scheduled to be one of the main speakers in the conference, which will be attended by foreign ministers and high- ranking officials from about 100 countries.

He said ninety countries had confirmed their participation in the conference.

"It is also possible that President Abdurrahman Wahid will attend the conference. But the schedule of his visit to the country (Poland) is still under discussion. It hasn't been confirmed yet," he said.

Szumski said that apart from Poland the conference was organized by India, the United States, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Chile and the Republic of Mali.

The conference, convoked under particular historical circumstances -- undeniably created by the fact of unprecedented development of democracy after World War II in such places as South America, post-communist Eastern and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union or South Africa after the fall of apartheid -- sets as its goal initiating, a debate for strengthening the democratic structures in the world.

"With the conference we want to facilitate the development of democracy in other countries," he said.

Szumski said the intergovernmental meeting was expected to lead to such acts and initiatives as issuing a declaration of democratic principles based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, forming an informal caucus cooperating on behalf of enforcing democracy and using results of the Warsaw conference as a departure point for the Fourth International Conference of New or Restored Democracies scheduled to be held in Cotonou, Benin, in December. (bnt)