Stop Violence, Start Dialogue, Indonesia Tells International Community

30 March, 2011 | Source: The Jakarta Post

The Indonesian Government is calling on all concerned parties to stop using violence to enforce, particularly, a no-fly zone over Libya as stipulated in a United Nations Security Council Resolution.

Foreign Ministry Marty Natalegawa said on Friday (25/3) that the government had called on the international community to ensure the protection of innocent civilians in Libya in accordance with international law and the UN Charter even before the adoption of the resolution.

Citing the latest development, Indonesia was now more convinced of the need to set aside the use of force and military means in addressing the situation in Libya, he said.

“We think enough lives have been lost, enough material damage has been done. It’s time for everyone to take a pause, to have a humanitarian space, to have a political space, to cool things down, to draw back and let people just thrash this out by words rather than by bullets,” he told The Jakarta Post at his office.

“In the end, a solution cannot be a military solution. In the end, somehow, somewhere, sometime, the whole thing must be resolved politically through negotiations and dialogue.”

But he refused to comment on whether the world community should give a guarantee of “safe exit” to Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi as part of the negotiations.

The United States, in a coalition with Britain, France, Italy and Canada, among other nations, has carried out air strikes since last week.

Qatar and the United Arab Emirates immediately followed suit in the air strikes, which have reportedly destroyed not only the Libyan government’s military facilities, but also infrastructure.

While calling for non-violent means in dealing with Qaddafi’s regime, Marty, however, stopped short of pointing fingers at the coalition, which has bombarded Libya, and NATO, which has now taken part of the command of UN-backed military operations.

“We are not pronouncing judgment — who started what and who is responsible — or suggesting that there is moral equality,” Marty said.

“I won’t comment on specific commanding of this operation, whether it’s one country or NATO. I’m sure all these countries are acting under the resolution or mandate.”

He argued that the situation was grave before Resolution 1973 came into force, with Libyan people already suffering from acts of violence by the Libyan government.

“Inaction is not an action,” Marty said.

He also dismissed opinions that the coalition nations had different interpretations of implementing the resolution, which led to bombardment.

“It’s simply that the dynamic in the area is constantly evolving,” said Marty.

University of Indonesia security expert Andi Widjajanto earlier said the UN Resolution on Libya could be subject to strict or flexible interpretations.

“Strict implementation of the UN Resolution means that attacks are only carried out against jet fighters flying in no-fly zones, while flexible implementation means that attacks can be aimed at military facilities, which could miss and harm civilians — this could backfire against the image of the Western powers’ coalition,” he told the Post.

UN Undersecretary-General for peacekeeping operations Alain Le Roy said on Friday (25/3) that the mandate “has to be applied strictly”.

“But at the same time, they will be reviewing no-fly zones and all means to protect civilians,” he said on the sidelines of the three-day Jakarta International Defense Dialogue.

 

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