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15 Mar, 2016

Indonesia sets up Palestine consulate but Israeli curbs force ceremony to be held in Amman

Jakarta (ANTARA News) 14 March 2016 – Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi has said that Indonesia’s honorary consul to Palestine could serve effectively to promote bilateral relations between Indonesia and Palestine.

“I hope the honorary consul in Ramallah could play an active role in fostering brotherhood between the Indonesian and Palestinian people,” she said in Amman, Jordan, on Sunday, after officially installing the country’s first honorary consul, Mrs Maha Alkhus Hussein, who is based in Ramallah, West Bank, Palestine.

The installation ceremony was attended by Palestine Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, and ambassadors of ASEAN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries.

The honorary consul has the duty to serve and protect Indonesians and Indonesian corporate bodies in Palestine, she said.

In addition, the honorary consul is charged with expanding bilateral cooperation in economy, trade, tourism, investment, labor issue, service and culture, she said.

Mrs Maha Alkhus Hussein is the first Indonesian honorary consul for Palestine among 41 foreign ambassadors and consuls in Ramallah.

Retno said the opening of Indonesia’s honorary consulate in Ramallah constitutes a concrete support by Indonesia for Palestine.

“Indonesian support for the Palestinian cause has never died away and today we move one step forward with the installation of an honorary consul in Ramallah,” she said.

The ceremony took place in Amman as the Israeli rejected permit for overflight for the Jordanian air force helicopter to transport the delegations to Ramallah.

The installation of the honorary consul followed the 5th extraordinary OIC summit on Palestine and Al Quds Al Sharif in Jakarta earlier this month.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) announced the assignment of Mrs Maha Alkhus Hussein as the country’s first honorary consul for Palestine at the extraordinary summit meeting of which the Indonesian president has been named the chairman

“Permit me to announce that Indonesia has named Mrs Maha Alkhus Hussein as its honorary consul for Palestine,” Jokowi told the conference.

The assignment of the honorary consul was one of the concrete steps by Indonesia, which will continue to be in the front line in the struggle for Palestinian independence, he said.

The 5th extraordinary summit meeting of the OIC ended with a resolution and Jakarta Declaration on Palestine and Jerusalem liberation from Israeli occupation.

“Palestine is the only member of the Afro-Asian Conference of 1955 which has not yet gained its independence. The fifth extraordinary summit constitutes a joint effort to put the Palestinian issue on the world radar,” the president told a news conference in between the summit meeting.

Palestine declared its independence in 1998, but most part of its territories are still occupied by Israel.

The Indonesian House of Representatives also endorsed the government policy in supporting the struggle for the Palestinian cause, House Deputy Speaker Taufik Kurniawan.

The Parliament fully supports Indonesian foreign policy in the struggle for independence of Palestine,” Kurniawan said.

Earlier Jokowi called for stronger support for Palestine with concrete steps and renewed spirit for peace process by increasing pressure on Israel including through boycotts of Israeli policy.(*)