Security, Peace to Headline Asian-African Conference
Bandung. Security will be one of the main focuses at the upcoming Asian-African Conference, according to President Joko Widodo, who says special sessions will discuss the situation in Yemen, Syria and the South China Sea conflict.
“There are issues in Asia and Africa that require immediate attention. We need global stability. We need global justice. That’s what we are advocating for at the conference,” the president said as he inspected preparations for the AAC in Bandung on Thursday.
A total of 79 foreign delegations have confirmed their attendance for the AAC — to be held in Jakarta and Bandung from Sunday through next week Friday— including 28 heads of state and government.
Member nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) are scheduled to stage a meeting at the AAC to discuss conflicts in the Middle East, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said on Wednesday.
Kalla said Joko had spoken with several world leaders by phone, including Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, during which they agreed that peaceful resolutions to various conflicts should be sought during the conference.
Among those confirmed to attend are Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
According to a Japan Times report published on Monday, Abe said Japan would use the conference to make further contributions to development in Asia and Africa.
Xi’s attendance, meanwhile, is meant to show the Chinese government’s intentions to contribute directly to maintaining the spirit of the 10-point “declaration on promotion of world peace and cooperation” produced at the end of the 1955 conference, according to Xie Feng, the Chinese ambassador to Indonesia.
Observers have high hopes that the upcoming 60th commemoration of the first AAC summit in Bandung can produce significant outcomes — ranging from a concrete road map for an independent Palestine, to a higher geopolitical stature for countries from the two continents.
The Asian-African Summit, which will feature heads of state and government, is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at the Jakarta Convention Center, while a ceremony to commemorate the 1955 conference will take place in Bandung the following day. It will include a walk by the leaders down Jalan Asia-Afrika in the West Java capital, retracing a similar procession by the leaders of 60 years ago.
The anniversary conference is also expected to conclude with two other declarations: the Bandung Message, and the Declaration of Reinvigorating the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership. Both are expected to redefine and bolster the relationships and partnerships between Asian and African nations.
The 60th anniversary commemoration of the Bandung conference will also feature a host of other events on the sidelines, including the Asian-African Business Summit in Jakarta, as well as a “smart city” summit, a student conference and a carnival — all held in Bandung.
“I see in general the city is about 95 percent ready,” Joko said as he toured Bandung.
“There is still some paint missing. Some flowers maybe here and there.”
Nearly 10,000 police personnel will be dispatched to provide security during the series of events.
The conference will issue three declarations, according to Darmansjah Djumala, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s policy development and studies center.
The first will be a declaration to revitalize the 1955 summit’s 10 principles, also known as the Bandung Spirit, which include, among others, visions of freedom, human rights equality, and cooperation.
The second declaration involves the strengthening of new partnerships among Asian and African countries.
“Asian and African countries will also issue a declaration to support the creation of an independent Palestinian state,” Djumala said during a seminar in Bandung on Tuesday.
Representatives from both continents fully support the Palestinian people’s bid for statehood, according to South Africa’s ambassador to Indonesia, Pakamisa Augustine Sifuba.
“The world has yet to see freedom and independence unless the Palestinians have their own country,” he said.
Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Fariz Mehdawi welcomed the call of support, stressing that the continued lack of independence for Palestine would be unfinished business for the AAC.
He added that the conference had inspired nations from both Africa and Asia to fight for independence.
“But here we are. We still have Palestine still struggling to get out of colonialism,” Mehdawi said.
In an effort to strengthen ties among Asian and African countries, Padjadjaran University in Bandung and the Indonesian Foreign Ministry have joined hands to establish the Asia-Africa study center.
“We have allocated resources to make the center work,” Padjadjaran University rector Tri Hanggono Ahmad said on Tuesday, adding that two professors and at least Rp 1 billion ($77,960) would be allocated for the center.
“The center aims to create scholars, including Ph.D. graduates,” he said.
The Asia Africa study center also aims to develop educational values in line with the Bandung Spirit, the Foreign Ministry’s Djumala said.
Both Tri and Djumala called on other Asian and African countries to work with the Padjadjaran center and create similar organizations in their respective countries.
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Source: The Jakarta Globe