YOGYAKARTA – Cancellation of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s (SBY) visit to the Netherlands yesterday was regretted by many people. Observer of international relations of UGM, Drs. Riza Noer Arfani, MA, said that the President should have not been too hasty in cancelling his visit despite the insistence of the Republic of South Maluku (RMS) which demands the arrest of President SBY in court in The Hague, related to alleged human rights violations in Indonesia. "He should not have been too hasty in cancelling the state visit, let alone it was done by the President on ‘personal’ consideration," Riza said, Wednesday (6/10).
Riza said that SBY’s decision is a rush, not based on the recommendation from his advisers. It would be better for Indonesia’s dignity if the President continued with the planned visit yesterday because the meeting with Queen Beatrix had long been scheduled. In addition, there is an important agenda in connection with the written acknowledgment of Dutch Government on Indonesia’s independence. "There is an important event happening, which is the Dutch’ written acknowledgment of Indonesia’s independence. It would have been very brave for the President if he had gone to the Netherlands despite the trial at the same time," Riza said.
In his view, the cancellation of the visit will increase the bargaining position of the RMS to search for international support. On the other hand, the "complexity" of Indonesia-Netherlands relations will increase. It can be neutralized if the government immediately provides an explanation for the cancellation and reschedules the next visit. "The impact will complicate the relationship between the two countries, unless the government can immediately give a clear explanation and plan the next visit," said the graduate of S-2 of the International Relations Program, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, New York, USA.
Some other countries which are similar as the Netherlands in human rights issues, such as Sweden and the Scandinavian countries (including Norway), are feared to also assess Indonesia as a country that does not enforce human rights. "The fear is that the countries that focus on human rights, such as the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries, will give assessment of Indonesia as a country that does not enforce human rights. It is proven that the President of Indonesia not gentle enough to go to the Netherlands," Riza said.
As already reported, the President canceled his visit to the Netherlands because of the demand of an organization called Republic of South Maluku (RMS) that requested the arrest of President SBY in The Hague, Netherlands. This was mentioned by Yudhoyono at Halim Perdanakusumah Airport in East Jakarta, Tuesday (5/10), shortly before leaving for the Netherlands. RMS government-in-exile asked for President SBY’s arrest during a state visit to the Netherlands next week. The demand was delivered via kort geding (accelerated procedure) to the court. That was conveyed by the President of RMS, John Wattilete, who is also an advocate, in a statement on teletext of NOS public television.
Wattilete also asked (outgoing) Prime Minister JP Balkenende to appeal for President SBY to end what he described as the imprisonment and torture of the followers of the RMS. He mentioned that currently in Maluku there are 1990 followers being imprisoned. He also wants the President of Indonesia to explain the burial location of the former President of RMS, Soumokil.