President Joko Widodo, left, chats with US President Joe Biden during the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Nov. 1, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Press Bureau)

Jokowi, Biden Urge Myanmar Military to Restore Democracy

BY :HERU ANDRIYANTO

NOVEMBER 02, 2021

Glasgow. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his US counterpart Joe Biden called on the Myanmar military to end violence and restore democracy when both leaders met during the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on Monday.

“We exchanged ideas for about an hour on various international issues from the pandemic, climate change, democracy, Myanmar to Afghanistan,” Jokowi tweeted on Tuesday.

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While he didn’t go into details about the closed-door meeting, the US Embassy said in a statement that both leaders “expressed concern about the coup in Burma and agreed the Burmese military must cease violence, release all political prisoners, and provide for a swift return to democracy”, referring to Myanmar by its old name.

“President Biden expressed support for Asean’s efforts to hold the Burmese military accountable to the Asean Five Point Consensus,” it added.

A day earlier, the US government condemned reports that Myanmar security forces “have set fire to and destroyed more than 100 residences as well as Christian churches”.  

“We condemn such brutal actions by the Burmese regime against people, their homes, and places of worship, which lays bare the regime’s complete disregard for the lives and welfare of the people of Burma,” the US State Department said. 

“These abhorrent attacks underscore the urgent need for the international community to hold the Burmese military accountable and take action to prevent gross violations and abuses of human rights, including by preventing the transfer of arms to the military.”

Indonesia, the biggest country in Southeast Asia, has agreed to exclude Myanmar military leaders from high-level meetings of the regional grouping Asean -- which comprises ten countries in the region -- until Myanmar “restores its democracy through an inclusive process”.

Myanmar has come under the spotlight since the military retook power in February and ousted democratically-elected leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi.

Under the Indonesian initiative, Asean has engaged diplomatic approaches with the Myanmar military and in April both sides reached a five-point consensus including the immediate cessation of violence; dialogue among all parties concerned for a peaceful solution; the appointment of a special Asean envoy to mediate the dialogue process; humanitarian assistance; and access for the special envoy and delegation to meet with all parties concerned in Myanmar.

President Joko Widodo meets with his US counterpart Joe Biden in Glasgow, Nov. 1, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Press Bureau)
President Joko Widodo meets with his US counterpart Joe Biden in Glasgow, Nov. 1, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Press Bureau)

Bilateral Ties
During the meeting with Biden, Jokowi extended appreciation to US cooperation and assistance to Indonesia’s Covid-19 response.

The Indonesian government has received 13.4 million doses of vaccines and 1,000 ventilator units, therapeutic medicine, and other medical equipment from the US, according to Jokowi.

Indonesia is interested in becoming part of global supply chains in medical equipment, he added.

“I also appreciate US support for Indonesia’s presidency of the G20,” Jokowi wrote.

Biden said he intends to continue his engagement with Jokowi as the two leaders work to deepen the bilateral partnerships.

“Last week, at the virtual Asean Summit, to the G20 meeting, to COP26, Indonesia and the United States have been working together, and we’ve enjoyed it very much,” Biden said.

“Mr. President, Indonesia is a vital strategic partner to the United States.  And your leadership in the Indo-Pacific is essential, and I’m looking forward to a successful presidency of the G20 next year,” Biden told Jokowi.

“From addressing the climate crisis to ending the COVID-19 pandemic to upholding freedom of the seas, there’s no global challenge today that doesn’t benefit from Indonesia and the United States working together.”
 

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