An ambulance carrying the body of one of those executed on Jan. 18, in Cilacap, Central Java. (Antara Photo/Idhad Zakaria)

Foreign Ministry: Netherlands, Brazil Ties Not Harmed, Oz Efforts 'Respected'

JANUARY 20, 2015

Jakarta. In an apparent effort to play down the international fallout of the recent execution of six drug convicts, the Foreign Affairs Ministry stressed on Tuesday that the ambassadors of the Netherlands and Brazil were only called back for consultation -- and not withdrawn -- and that Indonesia "respects" Australian efforts to save the lives of two of its citizens on death row here.

Ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir said that both Brazil and the Netherlands -- whose governments have expressed their serious disappointment over Indonesia's decision to kill their nationals despite high-level requests to commute their death sentences -- still have a diplomatic presence in Jakarta.

"I have to stress again that this is not a withdrawal of ambassadors but a recall for consultation. Last week they sent us a letter informing us of this recall. If you say 'withdraw' that means severing diplomatic ties, and it's not like that," Armanatha said.

The spokesman added that such a diplomatic move should not be considered as very unusual, that the relations with Brazil and the Netherlands would not be harmed by this measure, and that Indonesia still considered its ties with both as friendly.

"The Foreign Affairs Ministry is of the opinion that every government has the right to recall their ambassador for consultation," Armanatha said.  "We keep our lines of communication open with these two countries, and we try to maintain good bilateral relations with the Netherlands and Brazil."


The spokesman already made similar comments on Sunday, but since then the Nigerian government also summoned the Indonesian ambassador over the execution of two of its nationals.

It was previously reported that one of those executed was a citizen of Malawi, but the Nigerian government said the man identified as Namaona Denis based on the Malawian passport he was using, was in fact one of its nationals.

Six people were executed for drug offenses on Sunday, one Indonesian national, a Dutchman, a Brazilian, a Vietnamese woman, and the two Nigerians.


Armanatha also said that Indonesia respected the efforts by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to get Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan off death row, but that the supremacy of Indonesian law should be honored. 

The spokesman said he was confident ties with Australia would not be damaged over the execution of the two men who were part of the so-called Bali Nine heroin smuggling network.

"What we know is that the Australian PM has said that the ties between Indonesia and Australia are very strong and they have also said that this factor [the planned executions] will not disturb diplomatic relations," Armanatha said.

Chan is still waiting for a response from President Joko Widodo to his clemency request. His execution, or that of Sukumaran, has not been scheduled yet, but the Indonesian government has stressed it plans to put to all drug convicts on death row before the firing squad, regardless of nationality.