Remarks With Indonesian Foreign Minister Raden Mohammad Marty Muliana Natalegawa
Secretary of State
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: I will speak in Bahasa Indonesia first, and then I will also speak a little bit in English as well.
(In Bahasa Indonesia) (Via translation) This morning, I am very happy to have a visit from our friend, his Excellency U.S. Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry. Secretary Kerry and I have met many times on the sidelines of international meetings. If I am not mistaken, the last time we met was at the meeting on Syria, in Montreux, Switzerland. This time, we are really very happy that you are visiting Jakarta on the occasion of the 4th Joint Ministerial Commission between Indonesia and the United States.
Actually, the talks started last night, in an informal meeting during dinner. We discussed many issues, especially regional and global issues. Without going into great detail about what we discussed yesterday, we discussed, for example, the issues related to the situation in the Asia Pacific, including South East Asia, and East Asia in general. We also discussed the issue of the South China Sea, and also Indonesia’s initiative on the prevention on violence and our preference for resolving issues through diplomacy. In addition, yesterday, we also discussed global issues.
But today, in the meeting, we focused on the bilateral relationship between two countries. We heard in detail reports from various working groups that have been set up to enhance relations between Indonesia and the United States. We need to underline that Indonesia and the United States are the second and third biggest democratic country in the word, have become equal partners, and become partners that cooperate closely to promote relations between the two countries and to advance common interests at the regional and global level.
For this reason, we heard reports from the working group on democracy and civil society, working group on trade and investment, working group on education, on climate change and environment, working group on security, and working group on energy.
After giving guidance to these working groups, we are determined to increase our bilateral relationship to an even higher level.
(In English) Secretary Kerry, it is my tremendous pleasure and honor even to welcome you to Jakarta, on the occasion of this fourth joint ministerial commission. I have mentioned with our colleagues from the media that we have had occasions in the past to meet at the sidelines of other conferences. I recall probably the last time that we would have been in one forum would have been in Montreux, when we met for the Syrian international conference.
But it is, therefore, of singular importance that we are welcoming you today here in Jakarta on the occasion of the Joint Ministerial Commission, because apart – in this forum, apart from discussing issues of common interest of regional and global nature, we can be really focused on promoting the comprehensive partnership that our two countries are – have been developing since 2010.
I must say that the discussion throughout this morning has been especially productive and especially constructive as well. We have been hearing from our colleagues, the chairs of the six working groups promoting bilateral relations between our two countries: democracy and civil society, trade and investment, education, climate and environment, security, energy. We have been able to scorecard or snapshot the current state of Indonesia-U.S. relations. And I must say, the trajectory has been very positive, but we now have the task of consolidating and taking it to a higher level.
Indonesia and United States are partners, partners in promoting democratic values, partners in promoting peace and security in our region, and partners in promoting the better welfare and economic prosperity of peoples in our region. And I’m, therefore, especially pleased that throughout this morning and yesterday evening we were able to cooperate and exchange views on these such issues of common interest.
With that, I’d like to give you the floor now, John, to share your thoughts on our conversation and, if time allows, to also open the floor for some questions from our media colleagues. Please, John.
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you very much, Marty, my friend. We have really met many times on the side of different conferences, and we’ve gotten to know each other well. And I think we work effectively together, and I appreciate the – both the friendship and the generosity of his efforts with respect to the partnership between the United States and Indonesia.
Let me start today, if I can, by expressing my condolences on behalf of all Americans and President Obama to the victims of the Mount Sinabung volcano in the Mount Kelud volcanoes. We understand that the families of the 21 people who passed away are obviously suffering a great loss, and the tens of thousands of people who have been uprooted from their homes is a humanitarian challenge. And we stand ready to help in any way that Indonesia might need or want. And we certainly express our condolences to the families for those lost and to all of Indonesia.
Very special for me to be able to be back in Jakarta. I came here a number of times as a senator, and my sister lived here in Jakarta and taught at the International School for quite a few years. So I have, for many years, heard her stories of her years here and her enjoyment of both the people and the country, and so it’s nice for me to be able to be back here.
This is an amazingly dynamic city. Yesterday, I had the privilege of going to the Istiqlal mosque. And it’s my pleasure to not only say good morning to everybody here, but as-salam alaykum. It’s my honor to be a guest at this remarkable house of worship, the third largest mosque in the world, the largest in the region, in Asia, and really an incredible monument to faith and to the power of worship and the ability of people to come together and worship.
And what is really important, I thought, was to see just a short distance away the spires of the cathedral, which really is a symbol together of the tolerance that exists here in Indonesia, a very, very critical asset and one that we admire Indonesians for embracing. Much of the world could learn a great deal from your tradition of religious tolerance and pluralism, which is so clearly embedded in the DNA of Indonesian people.
This morning, as the Foreign Minister mentioned, we were both very pleased to join in the fourth convening of the meeting of the U.S-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership Joint Commission. Comprehensive partnership defines the work that we are doing. And I mentioned at the end of our meeting how impressed I was with the ideas that were exchanged, because we have these working groups that had been sitting down with each other when we’re not here, to listen to them, as we were today, in order to press the agenda between Indonesia and the United States.
In the few short years since our governments established this comprehensive partnership, we have together been far better equipped to be able to address shared challenges and to identify shared opportunities. And as Marty mentioned, we targeted today trade and investment, climate change and energy, issues of education, and other challenges in our relationship that we believe are opportunities. And we intend to try to make the most of those opportunities. And we talked about ways we could even improve this joint commission partnership, and we’re going to work on them. The fact is that, as a result of these meetings, our bilateral relationship is growing in a wide range of areas, and it’s growing faster, I can assure you, than it would be if we did not have this kind of partnership effort.
You saw just a few minutes ago we signed two new memorandum of understanding. Those came out of this commission – one to build on the work that we do to protect against wildlife trafficking, which is a threat to the ecosystem, a threat to species, a threat to our conscience, and really summons an obligation by all of us to try to do better, and also the responsibility to preserve the remarkably rich biodiversity that exists, both marine diversity and land-based biodiversity that exists in Indonesia, richest in the world, and it’s important to preserve it.
We also signed a memorandum to increase our joint development assistance to support human rights, regional integration, democracy, peace, and stability in third countries. And there are many countries that could benefit from the joint effort of the United States and Indonesia, and we intend to continue to do that.
I respect Mr. Natalegawa’s commitment as a leader to ASEAN and the work that has been done, which is critical to advancing our efforts to promote peace and prosperity in the region. I was in Beijing just two days ago, where I discussed the United States growing concerns over a pattern of behavior in which maritime claims are being asserted in the East China and South China Sea, from restrictions on access to the Scarborough Shoals, the Scarborough Reef, to China’s establishment of an ADIZ in the East China Sea, to the issuance of revised regulations restricting fishing in disputed areas of the South China Sea.
We believe very strongly that international law applies to all countries, big countries, small countries. And we live, even though we are not – even though the United States has not ratified the Law of the Sea, we live by the Law of the Sea. We are pledged to stick with the rules of the Law of the Sea. And we think it’s important for all countries to do that. It is imperative for all claimants to any location in these seas to base their maritime claims on the definitions of international law and to be able to resolve them peacefully within that framework.
The United States is very grateful for the leadership and the role that Indonesia has played in advancing China-ASEAN negotiations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the region’s future stability will depend, in part, on the success and the timeliness of the effort to produce a code of conduct. The longer the process takes, the longer tensions will simmer, and the greater the chance of a miscalculation by somebody that could trigger a conflict. That is in nobody’s interest. So I commend Foreign Minister Natalegawa for his focus on this issue. And I urge all of the parties to follow his lead and accelerate the negotiations.
Indonesia – it should be clear from today’s meeting and from the things that we have talked about and the things that we are accomplishing – is increasingly becoming a major U.S. partner, not just on regional challenges, but on global challenges like climate change and counterterrorism. That includes on Syria, where we are working hard to together to finally bring about a political solution to this horrible war. And I am very grateful to Foreign Minister Natalegawa for coming to Montreux to join us as one of 40 nations to help to make it clear how important it is to adhere to the standards of the Geneva I communique.
Yesterday, here in Jakarta, at the @america forum, I had the privilege of being able to talk about the challenge of climate change. You really only have to look at the extensive science to understand that climate change is one of the one, two, or three biggest challenges facing this planet. That’s why I raise the issue in nearly every single country that I visit as Secretary of State.
If we are going to prevent the worst consequences of climate change then, especially in places like Indonesia, which are on the frontlines of this threat, then we need everybody engaged. No one nation can solve this problem by itself. We need the United States, Indonesia, and every other country on earth doing everything that they can do to make the right choices in order to meet this challenge head-on. This is the most quintessentially global challenge that we have ever faced. It really demands a global solution. There’s no way to solve it. So we look forward to working with our partner, Indonesia, on that, as well as others.
As the world’s second and third largest democracies, we stand here today firmly with the belief, which both our presidents share, that our nations will benefit greatly from stronger ties and deeper levels of cooperation. I am not only talking about strengthening the ties between governments, we’re also talking about strengthening the ties between our peoples.
In the past few years alone, we have made terrific progress in the area of people-to-people relationships. I’m proud to say that the number of Americans studying in Indonesia has increased nearly 70 percent since 2010. And the number of Indonesians studying in the United States has grown substantially as well. And with the joint commission’s focusing on strengthening university partnerships and increasing the quality of education, we are absolutely confident the number of students going in both directions is going to increase. I look forward to seeing that.
So thank you, Indonesia, for your friendship. Thank you for the partnership. We respect the serious way in which we work out differences, and we appreciate enormously the fact that we have found common ground on such important issues. And through this joint commission, we are building our relationship even more so. Thank you very much, Marty.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Thanks very much.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you.
MODERATOR: We will now begin the (inaudible). I will give the first opportunity to our guest from the U.S. media.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Minister Natalegawa, what is your response to the report that the NSA, with the help of the Australians, spied on an American law firm that represented your government in trade talks with the United States? And did you raise this issue in your talks with Secretary Kerry?
And Secretary Kerry, if the issued was raised, could I ask you what your response was? And more broadly, moving onto the TPP negotiations, how much of a handicap is it that even your own Democrats are balking at giving President Obama trade promotion authority? How can you expect Asian countries to start providing access to their markets if there’s a perceived lack of support for this in Congress? Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Thank you very much for that question. The entire portfolio of extraterritorial surveillance has been obtaining a great deal of attention, not only here in Jakarta, but, as I understand it, as well in Washington and many capitals in Europe as well. I am aware that the U.S. administration recently – President Obama – had gone through, undertaken a review of the type of activities and the type of work that the various U.S. intelligence agencies are conducting, its impact, its relevance within United States, and as well in its international relations.
Our understanding is that the kind of review, the kind of amendments and approach that had been signaled by United States sides will be also forthcoming, will also be relevant in its conduct of its relations with Indonesia, given the nature of our relationship between the two countries. That is as far as the broad subject of extraterritorial surveillance.
As I said before, this is a subject that is obtaining a great deal of attention in many a capital. And United States is one of those that had actually taken a very comprehensive and thought-through review. And what I am now anticipating and what I am now understanding is that the kind of refinement and approach and refinement in outlook and practice would be a relevant to a country like Indonesia as a partner of the United States.
On the specific issue – I’m sorry if I have to speak of this at this forum, because this doesn’t impact on United States directly. But on the alleged information about the sharing of information by one intelligence agency, namely the Australian, signals directed on matters to do with the then-pending issue of – between United States and Indonesia to do with cloves and to do with shrimps. I have come across a statement by our good partner Australia on this issue and the reference that Australia collect intelligence to save Australian lives, to save the lives of other people, to promote Australian values, that those are well understood as our general outlook.
But I must say, that is why I chose not to respond immediately yesterday, this weekend. I find it a bit mind-boggling, a little bit difficult, how I can connect or reconcile discussions about shrimps and how it impact on Australia security. This is a very technical, bilateral Indonesia-U.S. issue, which is thankfully now behind us. But to suggest as if the future of shrimps export by Indonesia to United States has an impact on Australian security is a little bit too much and begs some kind of a serious question about what it is all about.
Again, my apologies for taking – using this opportunity, but in my view, in our view, neighbors, like Indonesia and Australia are, we should be looking out for each other, not turning against one another. We should be listening to one another and not to listen-in. And I think there is a very important and fine distinction between to listen to one another and to listen-in. And I think the recent revelations indicate that we are where we are just now.
But on the United States, I’m quite comfortable to hear the U.S. views on this, but my understanding is as I had just now described. Thank you.
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Marty, thank you very, very much. Let me deal with the question that Marty was just answering first, and then I’ll come to the other on the TPP. I really appreciate and respect what Marty has just said, and I completely understand, as we do in the United States, how there are concerns in various parts of the world regarding this issue, which is a challenge for all of us.
We take this issue very seriously, which is why President Obama laid out a series of concrete and substantial reforms that we believe should give greater confidence to people everywhere about privacy and civil liberties and that they are being protected and, at the same time, preserving very important tools with respect to keeping us safe in an age of major threats and of terrorism and that addresses significant questions.
I’d just make to very clear to everybody: As the President said in his speech on this subject, the United States does not collect intelligence to afford a competitive advantage to U.S. companies or U.S. commercial sectors. And with the reforms that we put in place, we believe we have a transparency and an accountability that should address everybody’s concerns.
With respect to TPP, I spent 29 years in the United States Senate. And I have voted on many trade agreements, including way back in the beginning, NAFTA, all the way through to our most recent agreements with Colombia and Korea and so forth. There is always opposition. We’ve never known there not to be opposition. That’s part of political life.
But we are living in a very different world today. Because of globalization, no country can think about growing and providing greater prosperity and opportunity to its people and a rising income without the ability to be able to trade in goods and services on a global basis. That’s the world we live in. No political leader can put that genie back in the bottle. You can’t do it. So what you need to do is, through good government and good leadership, tame the worst outcomes that might stare at you if you don’t address them.
In the very beginning, when the first trade agreements were created, there weren’t appropriate applications of law on labor standards or on environment standards or on other kinds of things. But the fact is that, over a period of time, we have developed those things. And modern trade agreements encompass a balance so that we address some of the things that we’ve learned through experience can occur in economies that people have opposed.
So I will urge my colleagues – my former colleagues in the United States Senate and the Congress – to look very carefully and to measure this and not to jump ahead of time with a decision that so seriously affects our economic future and the future of how countries behave in trade relationships around the world. It is very important for us to be able to be part of the fastest growing region in the world and to make sure that everybody is engaged in a race to the top, not a race to bottom.
So I will continue to speak, as President Obama will and the rest of the Administration, to the United States Congress and to the world about importance of these agreements. We will continue to negotiate and continue to work for the TPP, because we believe that is a critical component of prosperity and growth for the regions, as well as the way in which we will build greater stability on a global basis. So we look forward to doing what we’ve always done, which is testifying, speaking one-on-one, talking to people, advocating, demonstrating how this benefits the United States and Asia at the same time. And in the end, I believe people will come to the appropriate judgment.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Next question is from (inaudible).
QUESTION: Good morning, Excellencies. My name’s Grace Manjutak. My first question: How would you comment on the upcoming Indonesian elections and the struggle for democracy, as some of the presidential candidates were accused of human rights violations? What do you expect from the next leader of Indonesia?
And secondly, why is the U.S. actively campaigning for solution of climate change while you refuse to comply with international protocol on climate change, the Kyoto Protocol, for example? The U.S. also refuses to ratify a number of international protocol, including the Rome Statute and CTBT. Can you please comment on this? Thank you.
SECRETARY KERRY: Was the election question to me, too? Oh, okay. (Laughter.)
MINISTER NATALEGAWA: It’s especially to you. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY KERRY: How lucky can I be? (Laughter.) That’s what I want to do, is be the Secretary of State who comes and comments on someone else’s election before it takes place. (Laughter.)
Well, look, let me just say to you very, very clearly the United States, as I said earlier in my comments, has huge respect for the fact that Indonesia is a leading democracy and a very important partner to the United States. But it’s up to the Indonesian people to choose their own leaders. The United States will not get involved. We will not, quietly or otherwise, be picking candidates. That would be entirely inappropriate. It’s up to the people of Indonesia to make their choices. And we’re not going to be hypocritical and say we value democracy and people’s independence and respect their sovereignty and then turn around and become involved.
We are confident that whatever outcome comes out of this election we will maintain a very strong relationship with Indonesia and it will reflect our shared goals: our commitment to democracy, our respect for human rights, our respect for pluralism, for tolerance with respect to religious practice and individual practice. And we are confident that Indonesia will continue to make progress, the way it has over the course of the last 10 years.
On the subject of climate change and the international conventions, actually the United States of America is taking a lead today. President Obama has decided that he will do, by executive order, what Congress has been unwilling to do. So we have passed new standards for our automobiles, higher standards for reducing emissions. We have passed new standards requiring lower emissions for all of our trucks. We have lowered emissions in the United States significantly. We have put out, by executive order, requirements for buildings and government buildings and government purchase of fleets of automobiles.
We have engaged, through – our Environmental Protection Agency has put on some of the toughest standards ever in our history with respect to any new coal-fired power plant. So it is very difficult now in America to build a coal-fire power plant without meeting very, very rigorous standards. We have much tougher standards than other countries in the rest of the world with respect to that, except perhaps for Europe, where they have very strong standards also.
We are increasingly moving on a climate action agenda, which President Obama has put into place and ordered. We meet regularly with the cabinet now in order to designate where each cabinet secretary – where each area could provide greater contribution to emissions reductions. That includes, for instance, agriculture and our agriculture practices.
And I just came from China, where we agreed to work with the Chinese. And they are beginning to take enormous steps, because they’re concerned about air quality, air pollution, as well as what’s happening to the globe in terms of climate change. And we have agreed to work together to set very strong standards as we go into 2015 and to try to work to compare how we can do this in a way that is least impactful on our economies and most beneficial to the environment.
So I’m proud of what the United States is doing today, and I believe we will help to move the process towards a successful 2015 negotiation in Paris.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Let me just say a little bit on the climate change.
Secretary Kerry just now had inform us about the national-level efforts the United States has been taking to address the challenge of climate change. Of course, likewise, at the national level in Indonesia, we have, as you are I’m sure very much well informed, have also been taking a number of concrete, important national-level steps to address the threat of climate change, whether to achieve our target of 26 percent or 41 percent emission cut by 2020, our efforts through the national action plan on the efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emission through dealing with the issue of forest degradation, the issue of energy mix and transportation and industry, and so on and so forth.
So both of us, I’m sure has a narrative to share in terms of our national-level efforts. What is important in this forum is to synergize those efforts so the national becomes, at the same time, bilateral. We can showcase some bilateral U.S.-Indonesia cooperation on climate change to the rest of the world, that this is – it is actually possible to synergize national and bilateral and to become drivers in global discussions on climate change.
So what we are dong very much is part of creating that synergy between national-level efforts, bilateral, regional, and global, because we have really – if there is one issue that requires cooperative outlook, this would be it.
And I was struck by the points made by Secretary Kerry yesterday in his remarks at the public forum, reminding all of us in the sense of how extensive and how expansive is the impact of climate change. And you can count on Indonesia as being a continued strong partner in this very worthwhile endeavor.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: The next question comes from (inaudible).
QUESTION: First question for Secretary Kerry. The Geneva II talks have yielded no progress and they’re stalling. And in your statement yesterday, you said the U.S. remains committed to a political solution. So what leverage can you bring to stop the Assad regime from obstructing the talks and that there is a political solution when there is no progress?
Also your statement, you said that regime supporters aren’t doing enough to pressure the regime. Are you talking specifically about Russia, and what are they not doing enough of?
And for Minister Natalegawa, are Indonesians traveling to Syria to join foreign fighters and help the extremist groups there establish their goal of establishing an Islamic state there? And if so, how many have done so? Where are they being recruited? And what is your government doing about this?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you very much. Syria is a tragedy to the world, and all of us have a stake in trying to change the equation on the ground with respect to the people of Syria.
The talks themselves are taking a recess for a moment, but all of us need to remember that there is no recess for the people of Syria, who are suffering. And the international community needs to use this recess in the Geneva talks to determine how to use this time most effectively in order to bring about a political solution. We still believe there is no military solution with respect to Syria; there has to be a political resolution.
But right now, Bashar al-Assad has not engaged in the discussions along the promised and required standard that both Russia spoke up for and the regime spoke up for, that they would come to Geneva and accept the Geneva I communique as the basis of negotiations. They have refused to open up one moment of discussion legitimately about a transition government, and it is very clear that Bashar al-Assad is continuing to try to win this in the battlefield rather than to come to the negotiating table in good faith.
None of us are surprised that the talks are hard. We always knew these talks would be very, very difficult, and we’re still at a difficult moment. But everybody should agree that the Assad regime’s attitude is what has made these talks tougher. The opposition, whom they dismissed completely, has come to these talks with a greater preparation, with a greater preparedness, to be able to talk seriously, and they have presented themselves – I think Marty would agree – far more effectively and with greater sense of purpose than the Assad regime.
I think it was an example to the whole world that, while the Assad regime has obstructed and filibustered, the opposition demonstrated a courageous and mature seriousness of purpose and a willingness to try to discuss all the aspects of the conflict. They put forward a well-thought-out, well-reasoned, viable roadmap for the creation of a transitional governing body and a viable path by which to move the negotiations forward. They did that. The opposition did that. The regime stonewalled. They did nothing, except continue to drop barrel bombs on their own people and continue to destroy their own country.
And I regret to say they are dong so with increased support from Iran, from Hezbollah, and from Russia. Russia needs to be a part of the solution and not be contributing so many more weapons and so much more aid that they’re, in fact, enabling Assad to double down, which is creating an enormous problem.
And as for Assad, who says he wants to talk about terrorism, Assad himself is a magnet for terrorists. He’s the principal magnet of the region for attracting foreign fighters to Syria. Moreover, Assad himself is engaging in state-sanctioned terror against his own people. When you indiscriminately drop bombs on women and children, when you starve people and torture people by the thousands, those are acts of terror.
And so it is important for the world to consider in these next days exactly what steps can now be taken in the face of this intransigence that is creating an even greater human catastrophe by the moment. The numbers of refugees within Syria has gone up about 50 percent, and the numbers of refugees who’ve gone out of Syria has gone up about 33 percent since October, when this process began.
So we are deeply committed and deeply concerned about it. The international community understands that the primary purpose of our diplomacy is to discuss the full implementation of the Geneva communique. The full implementation is what 40 countries came and supported in Montreux, and that calls for a transition government with full executive authority arrived at by mutual consent.
Russia, on several occasions, has stood up publicly with me, or in other places, and said they are committed to that transition government to the Geneva communique and Geneva I. And yet, we have not seen the kind of effort to create the dynamic by which that can be achieved.
So we will continue to look at options. We will continue to stay focused. And we will continue to debate among ourselves what steps are appropriate at this point in time.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: On Syria, the specific question you had asked about the possibility of Indonesian nationals being somehow engaged or involved on the ground – actually, there’s no way of verifying the data. Our current efforts have been actually in repatriating our nationals out of Syria, because we’ve had – prior to the conflict – quite a sizeable number of our nationals in Syria, so we have been working very hard to have them repatriated, return back to Indonesia.
I have been hearing – we have been hearing information or suggestion that there are some who have gone to Syria to be involved in the conflict. Obviously, it’s not something that we condone. Our message to them is not to involve themselves in such activities and that they must return back.
But beyond that specific question, I mean, all of us, when we were in Geneva – I mean, in Montreux for the meeting, all of us are in recognition that more of the same is not acceptable. More of the same means more civilian causalities, more lives lost, and more humanitarian sufferings. I fear that we may become a little bit numb to all this – of all this humanitarian catastrophe. We must not allow that to happen. We must constantly ensure that the interest of the innocent Syrians are at the forefront and change the dynamics.
I have spoken on many occasions of Indonesia’s strong belief in the power of diplomacy, in the power of peaceful settlement of disputes, even in the face of obviously very difficult situation, as we are facing just now in Syria.
So based on Geneva I, we must redouble our efforts in order to ensure that the diplomatic option, the diplomatic solution, becomes at the forefront. We owe the people of Syria that at least, that we apply ourselves seriously and that we don’t have – no longer have the luxury of allowing things to be prolonged. Because every day that passes means more lives lost and more sufferings for the ordinary people of Syria.
Indonesia’s view is very clear. We have always felt, first and foremost, we must engineer, we must enforce even, some kind of a cease-fire or pause in the conflict to allow for precisely the kind of transitional process, political process to get underway, as well as humanitarian assistance to be extended. Indonesia and United States are strong partners, I am sure, in speaking on behalf of such important principles as ensuring that the choices and the wishes of the Syrian people are actually respected. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY KERRY: Can I just add one other thing, quickly, if I may? On the humanitarian situation, we are trying very hard at the United Nations, through the United Nations Security Council, to achieve a meaningful resolution that might be able to have some impact on this humanitarian crisis. In Homs, people were allowed finally, after a long negotiation – we don’t have time for negotiations for every single place where you’re trying to save lives. So there has to be a broad rule of access for humanitarian assistance.
More than 250,000 people are currently under siege and being starved, some of them for as long as a year or two. They haven’t received humanitarian assistance. The Assad regime blocks it or requires it to come through to Damascus, where it gets separated and never gets to some of the people it’s supposed to get to. Now sometimes, the opposition has gotten in the way, certain opposition, the really bad opposition, and they’ve stood in the way of delivery. So both have to happen, and we’re trying to include both. We’re not trying to point a finger at one party alone.
But the fact is that you can’t allow people to be taken out as a matter of humanitarian effort – and then they’re separated. The young men are separated and the government takes them, and some of them have disappeared, some have been tortured. That’s not humanitarian. That is not part of providing humanitarian assistance to people. But that’s the way the Assad regime has treated it.
So this is an urgent matter for the international community. And President Obama and I call on all members of the United Nations Security Council to join together and pass a meaningful, impactful resolution with respect to this humanitarian crisis.
MODERATOR: Thank you.