Your Excellency Mr. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN,
Your Excellency. Vijay Nambiar, Under Secretary-General of the UN,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to Jakarta and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.
I am delighted to join you here at the opening of the Second ASEAN-UN Workshop on Conflict Prevention and Preventive Diplomacy. This event is in implementation of the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership Between ASEAN and the United Nations (UN) adopted at the 4th ASEAN-UN Summit in Bali in 2011.
Aside from that, it should be noted that conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy are part of the core business of ASEAN.
Since its inception in 1967, ASEAN devoted itself to the pursuit of peace. That is why it has been cultivating the habits of dialogue and consultation and cooperation – not only among our members but also with our dialogue partners.
In 1976, we signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation as a code of conduct governing relations among ASEAN states and between them and non-ASEAN states. To-date, 29 countries are high contracting parties to the Treaty, as a result of the accession of 19 countries and entities to its Protocol. This is a clear sign that the TAC is indeed an effective and widely accepted code of conduct for the prevention of open conflict and the promotion of peace and cooperation.
By virtue of the TAC and also the ASEAN Charter, ASEAN member states have bound themselves to settle their differences and disputes by peaceful means, and have renounced aggression and the use or threat of force.
Thus today the ASEAN family is at peace with itself and with the rest of the world. But peace must be constantly earned. We must see to it that we are always in a position to prevent conflict.
As to the United Nations, since its establishment more than six decades ago, it has played a preeminent role in the peaceful resolution of armed conflicts around the world. In dealing with this challenge, it has moved from a strategy of “reaction” to one of “prevention.”
The UN Secretary-General has made preventive diplomacy, asan integral part of broader conflict prevention efforts, one of his priorities.
Guided by the UN Charter, the UN has employed various instruments to enlarge its capacity, improve its machinery and expand its network of partnerships in preventive diplomacy.
Hence, both the UN and ASEAN have a pool of best practices and lessons learned from their experiences, which can be put to good use in the pursuit of peace.
In this regard, last year we held in Jakarta the ASEAN-UN Lessons Learned Workshop on Conflict Prevention, Peacemaking, Peacekeeping and Peace-building. During the workshop we were able to identify ways by which ASEAN mechanisms, including the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, and UN forums and other conflict prevention instruments can be linked more closely with one another.
We are here today to follow up that workshop.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Indonesia is fully committed to help create peace by going through all the three stages of conflict prevention: prevention of conflict outbreak, prevention of its continuation and prevention of its recurrence.
And we are committed to the pursuit of peace at all levels: national, regional and global.
Let me therefore share with you some Indonesian perspectives in this regard:
First, ASEAN member states must remain faithful to their commitment to peace and the avoidance of the use of force, and should therefore redouble their efforts to operationalize the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation.
In Southeast Asia, tensions have arisen from widespread feelings of exclusion and alienation from the rest of society, or a sense of threat to their religious or cultural identity. Tensions have also ensued from situations of economic instability and social and political upheaval. Tensions have been the direct result of border disputes.
Today most geopolitical risks are not due to threats of military attack but are rather the results of mistrust, miscalculation and miscommunication. ASEAN member states should therefore strive to nurture a culture of peace in the region.
As a way of creating such a culture of peace, ASEAN launched the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation at the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November 2012.
The Institute will carry out activities related to conflict prevention, management and resolution whenever requested to do so by the ASEAN member states. These activities include research, capacity building, network building and information dissemination.
The AIPR will be a pool of expertise to conduct research and gather database that can be used to prevent disputes from arising and limit tensions when disputes do occur.
And when conflict does arise between ASEAN member states or between ASEAN member states and non-member states, I hope that the Institute will be able to provide effective recommendations go settle the conflict and rebuild the peace.
ASEAN member countries have vast experience in the field of conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy. They therefore have much to share by way of best practices and lessons learned in this seminar.
Second, in the wider Asia-Pacific region, we should promote preventive diplomacy, both through the ARF and through various ASEAN dialogue processes.
During the past nineteen years, the ARF has been working to create an atmosphere of trust and confidence among its participants, while at the same time laying the groundwork for the implementation of preventive diplomacy, not only on traditional issues, but also on non-traditional security issues.
A milestone in the ARF’s promotion of preventive diplomacy was the adoption of the mechanism, “Friends of the ARF Chair,” at the 14th ARF in 2007. This is a troika consisting of the Foreign Ministers of the immediate past and future ARF chairing countries and a non-ASEAN ARF country.
The mechanism assists the ARF Chair in dealing with international situations, which affect peace and security in the region. For instance, it provides ‘good offices’ in times of emergency and crisis.
In Bali 2011, the ARF Ministers adopted the ARF Work Plan on Preventive Diplomacy.
I hope the implementation of the Work Plan will enable the ARF to reach a higher level of cooperation and to become a more ‘action-oriented’ forum.
Third, at the global level, we should continue to contribute to an international order that is based on freedom, lasting peace and social justice.
In the face of horrible civil war in Syria, the oppression of the Palestinian people and other critical situations in various parts of the world, ASEAN can and should be at the forefront of the global effor
t to bring about a global regime of peace.
That is why Indonesia attaches great importance to the UN-ASEAN partnership. We believe that the two organizations should work closely together to strengthen ASEAN’s capacity to be part of the solution to any conflict anywhere in the world.
This partnership is in line with Indonesia’s efforts to wage peace by helping create a network of mediation and peace-building hubs and centers in all regions.
Given that preventive diplomacy in today’s dynamic world is increasingly conducted by a broader array of actors with a wider range of tools, it is essential that we involve Track 2 in this partnership.
Fourth, we must enhance synergy between relevant organs at all levels.
All organs at regional and global levels must work in concert.
UN peacemaking flourished in the decade following the end of the Cold War, as many longstanding armed conflicts were brought to an end through negotiated political settlements often brokered and implemented with strong UN involvement.
Hence, the UN has immense experience that it can share with ASEAN, particularly with regard to the operation of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation and how to utilize this institution so that it serves the region to the fullest.
We look forward to the UN helping us in the promotion of a regional network among existing peacekeeping centers in ASEAN member states and in enhancing ASEAN capacity for peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace building.
I also look forward to the development of a framework for the collaboration of the UN and ASEAN in addressing global and regional challenges.
Excellencies and Colleagues,
I have every confidence that today’s seminar will identify and explore ways by which ASEAN and the UN can strengthen partnership in maintaining regional and international peace and security.
I am also optimistic that this workshop will produce tangible results that will enhance capacities of the two Organizations in conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy.
Like the rest of the world, we all feel the urgent need for more effective conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy. But it is a daunting challenge to put into place concrete mechanisms that will serve these worthy goals. Nevertheless I am hopeful that this seminar will yield concrete results that will help us establish, develop and fine-tune such mechanisms that will nurture a global and regional culture of peace.