Tuesday, 17 April 2018 08:28

Indonesia Concerned over Syria, Urges to Respect International Law

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Indonesia`s government expressed concern over attacks by the United States and its allies against Syria and urged all parties to respect and value the international law, particularly the UN charter on international peace and security.

"Principles of the international law should be prioritized in response to the military attack," Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L. P. Marsudi had noted in Jakarta on Apr 13 following attacks by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France in Damascus.

Indonesia has expressed serious concern over the latest developments in Syria. Last week, Indonesia had expressed strong condemnation over the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the foreign ministry noted in a statement. Marsudi appealed to all the parties to exercise constraint and prevent escalation of tensions in Syria. The Indonesian government has reiterated the importance of a comprehensive settlement to the conflicts in Syria through negotiations and peaceful means. Indonesia has also called on all parties to ensure security and safety of the civilians, especially women and children.

"Since Sunday (Apr 15), Indonesia has continued to monitor the situation in Syria, as thousands of Indonesians still live in that country," Marsudi stated.

Marsudi had continued to communicate with the Indonesian ambassadors in the Syrian capital of Damascus and others, to ensure the safety of Indonesian citizens there.

"In addition to communicating with the Indonesian ambassador to Syria, I have communicated with other Indonesian ambassadors in the Middle Eastern Region and Europe," he stated.

She affirmed that the safety and security of Indonesian citizens remained a priority right now.

"I do not want any victims from Indonesia as a result of the situation in Syria," she explained.

Besides, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has issued a travel advisory for Indonesian citizens to not visit Syria over the security situation in the country.

"Taking into account the security situation in Syria, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged all Indonesian citizens to not travel to Syria until the situation improves," the Foreign Ministry noted in the statement.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also urged Indonesian citizens in Syria to immediately report themselves and always communicate with the Indonesian Embassy (KBRI) in Damascus. Furthermore, Indonesian citizens, who want to provide or get the latest information on the security situation in Damascus and the surrounding areas, can use Safe Travel application launched by Minister Marsudi on April 14. The Safe Travel application can be downloaded in both Android and iOS formats.

Indonesian citizens in Syria in need of help or information can also contact the KBRI in Damascus hotline via phone on + 963 954444810 or + 963937021018 and can also contact the Indonesian Citizens Protection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via phone on +62 812-9007-0027.

Meanwhile, Dr Yon Machmudi, a political scientist at the University of Indonesia, remarked that attacks by the United States and allies will escalate the conflict and tensions in the Middle East

"Time and again, Syrian people have become victims. The US attacks will not be able to curtail Bashar Al-Assad`s regime to reduce its operation against armed rebels in Syria but will instead intensify retaliations against the enemy attacks," Machmudi had stated in Jakarta, April 14.

Syria is being used as a battlefield by the United States and its allies against Russia.

"Syria is Russia`s main ally in the Middle East. Punishing Syria means punishing Russia too. The conflict will spread if Russia is provoked to involve deeper in the war in Syria and to help the Al-Assad regime retaliate against the US-led attacks," he pointed out.

Moreover, the US-led attacks in Syria aimed to divert the world`s attention from Israeli brutal aggression against protestors in Gaza. The Israeli troops had shot dead 31 Palestinians in Gaza and wounded hundreds since the Great March of Return protests began in March 2018, drawing international criticism of the lethal tactics used against the unarmed protestors.

Prof Hikmahanto Juwana, an international law expert also from the University of Indonesia, has urged the Indonesian government to call for an emergency meeting of the UN to discuss the US-led attacks in Syria.

"The attacks committed by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France against Syria are highly regretted, as it has no mandate from the UN Security Council, regardless of the excuse," Juwana stated.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on April 14 expressed concern over the joint military action against Syria by the United States, France and Britain, and called for adherence to the UN Charter and international law on the issue.

"As secretary-general of the United Nations, it is my duty to remind member states that there is an obligation, particularly when dealing with matters of peace and security, to act consistently with the Charter of the United Nations and with international law in general," Guterres told an emergency Security Council meeting requested by Russia.

"The UN Charter is very clear on these issues. The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. I call on the members of the Security Council to unite and exercise that responsibility," he said.

"I urge all member states to show restraint in these dangerous circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate matters and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people."

He repeated the need to avoid the situation from spiraling out of control.

"In Syria, we see confrontations and proxy wars involving several national armies, a number of armed opposition groups, many national and international militia, foreign fighters from everywhere in the world, and various terrorist organizations." he said.

"From the beginning, we have witnessed systematic violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international law tout court -- in utter disregard of the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter."

A Russian-drafted resolution, which would have condemned the military strikes on Syria carried out by the United States, France and Britain, failed to be adopted by the Security Council. Three of the 15 members of the Security Council -- Russia, Bolivia and China -- voted in favor. Four countries -- Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Peru -- abstained. The remaining eight members of the council voted against it.

The draft resolution contains only five paragraphs with three operative ones. It condemns "the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the U.S. and its allies in violation of international law and the UN Charter."

It further demands that the United States and its allies immediately end military action against Syria and refrain from any further use of force in the future. After the vote, Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said: "Today is a sad day for the world, for the United Nations, and for its Charter, which was blatantly violated."

Following reports of alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma near the capital city of Damascus on Apr 7, the United States, France, and the Great Britain had launched missile attacks on Syria on April 13, a day before a team from the UN Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will begin work to determine whether chemical weapons were used in Douma. (antara)

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