Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Indonesia calls for Israel-Hamas ceasefire at OIC Summit 

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Gusty da Costa

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Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has called for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant Hamas in the wake of the seven-month conflict, with Israel threatening to invade Rafah, a city of 2.5 million people in Gaza Strip.

“Keep pushing for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. A ceasefire would be a game-changer to stop the rising casualties and ease humanitarian suffering. It’s also crucial for creating a conducive environment for fair negotiations towards a two-state solution,” Retno told the 15th session of the Islamic Summit Conference in Banjul, Gambia, on May 4, 2024.

She said that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) needed to focus on addressing humanitarian disaster in Palestine, suggesting the OIC ensure the stability of the region and the world.

Retno said further that Palestine issue is at the very core of OIC and that the OIC owes independence to the Palestinian people.

“I would like to remind us all of the Arab Peace Initiative and the OIC decision that peace with Israel will only be possible if Israel ends its occupation of Palestine. That decision sent a strong message to Israel: without independence for Palestine, there can be no diplomatic relations. That message and decision should be maintained,” she said.

Over the last seven months, more than 34 thousand Palestinians were killed in Israel offensive, while humanitarian assistance has always been hindered and threats to attack Rafah continue. Meanwhile, Palestine’s UN membership has continuously been blocked.

In this difficult situation, Retno said, the OIC must stand united to defend justice and humanity for the Palestinians.

“Our focus should remain united on helping Palestine. We must sustain humanitarian assistance for people in Gaza by any means necessary to continue our support for UNRWA. Therefore, the agreed Islamic Financial Safety Net in OIC must be activated immediately,” Retno said.

Development and women’s issues

Retno said OIC faced a significant challenge in narrowing the development gap, with some member countries grappling with widespread poverty. Twenty-one out of 46 least developed countries (LDCs) are OIC members.

Indonesia urges deeper private sector’s engagement in the OIC through fostering more trade deals and investments. In this context, Indonesia will host the 2nd Indonesia – Africa Forum this September in Bali.

“Women empowerment and access to quality education are also crucial for inclusive OIC development. This should be a priority for OIC, including to promote women’s education rights in Afghanistan,” Retno said.

She added that women in Afghanistan and other parts of the world deserved equal rights and the issue of women should be mainstreamed in the policies and activities of the OIC.

Indonesia has offered scholarships for Afghan women and girls, shared best practices on madrassa curricula with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), and delivered 10 million doses of polio vaccine for Afghan children.

Gusty da Costa

Journalist

 

Editor

 

Interview

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