Sabtu, 10 November 2012

Indonesia hails re-election of Obama, `the Menteng Kid` by Fardah

    Jakarta Nov 10, 2012 (ANTARA News) - Following re-election of US President Barack Obama, many Indonesians have hailed the victory of `The Menteng Kid.`
    Obama spent a few years of his childhood in Indonesia, from 1967 through 1971, with his mother and Indonesian stepfather. He studied at an elementary school in the Menteng area of Central Jakarta.
     He had described his visit as `pulang kampong` or home coming, when he visited Jakarta in November 2010. He spoke several Indonesian words, and especially mentioned his favorite Indonesian food such as `baso` (meat ball) and satem (satay or grilled chicken/meat).
     Obama even thrilled Indonesians by declaring "Saya bagian dari Indonesia (I am part of Indonesia)" while speaking at the University of Indonesia (UI), on the southern outskirts of Jakarta, two years ago, on November 10, 2010.

     Joining the chorus of other world leaders congratulating Obama, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono praised him for his re-election and expressed hope that the strategic partnership and cooperation between the two countries would increase further and benefit both nations.

In the US presidential election on November 7, 2012, Obama won 303 electoral votes, while Republican Mitt Romney got only 203.

"I convey my congratulations and am waiting for (a chance to have a telephone) communication with him so that I can congratulate him directly. President Obama must certainly be very busy right now. Indonesia hopes for continued strategic cooperation based on mutual respect and on an equal footing," Yudhoyono told the media in Bali, on November 9, after opening the Fifth Bali Democracy Forum.

"President Obama knows much about the way things are in Indonesia and his knowledge could strengthen our bilateral cooperation," President Yudhoyono added.

During his brief stay in Jakarta two years ago, Obama and Yudhoyono had announced a comprehensive partnership aimed at creating long-term relations between the two nations.

According to a White House press release, the partnership was be based on "mutual respect, common interests, and shared values."

"Indonesia also looks forward to having continued cooperation from the United States at various international forums, such as the G-20 Summit, APEC Summit, and climate change summits, as well as in formulating the Post-2015 MDGs (Millennium Development Goals)," he added.

Yudhoyono has been appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a co-chair of a High-level Panel that will advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015, the target date for the MDGs.

The Secretary-General also appointed two other co-chairs, namely President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

Earlier, Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Hatta Rajasa congratulated Obama on his victory, saying the re-election of Obama was positive for the continuation of bilateral relations and cooperation between Indonesia and the US, particularly in the economic sector.

Obama`s victory was also hailed by Indonesian Deputy Minister of National Development Planning Lukita Dinarsyah Tuwo, who said it will bring certainty to the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) program.

"The MCC Program was started and signed during the Obama administration, and with his re-election, the program will continue without any policy change," Tuwo said.

He added that he hoped Obama would be able to steer the US economy into a better direction. "If the US economy recovers, the world economy will move forward along with it automatically," he said, adding that the most important thing for Indonesia was to achieve a 6 percent economic growth, regardless of whoever was leading the US or China.

The Indonesian government expects US$600 million in funds under the Millennium Challenge Corporation program, which can be gradually disbursed to reduce poverty rates beginning in 2013.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Indonesian Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo had signed a five-year agreement on MCC to alleviate poverty by supporting economic growth in Indonesia, on November 19, 2011, on the sidelines of East Asia Summit in Bali.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an innovative and independent U.S. foreign aid agency that is helping lead the fight against global poverty.  It was created by the U.S. Congress in January 2004 with strong bipartisan support.

In the environmental field, Executive Director of Indonesian Climate Change Council (DNPI) Rachmat Witoelar said in Jakarta on November 9 that the Obama re-election would bring renewed hope for climate change action, particularly with regards to funding.

"The Obama victory is a light in the fight to get climate change funding from advanced countries into developing countries because Obama supports the funding mechanism," Witoelar said.

Advanced nations have committed to provide US$100 billion for the fight against climate change until 2020. But so far, these countries are yet to confirm the implementation of this proposal.

Until today, these countries had only provided short-term funding worth US$39 billion for the period of 2010 to 2012.

They have been debating about the funding issue, but have not reached an agreement about it. "We hope there will be an agreement in the Climate Change Conference in Doha at the end of this year," he stated.

The United States itself had been affected by climate change through the devastation caused by super-storm Sandy.

Obama`s invocation of "the destructive power of a warming planet" in his victory speech has stoked expectations that he will act on climate change during his second term.

The media has reported that environmental campaigners are already mobilizing to hold the president to that promise.

They argued that Obama's re-election, amid the devastation of superstorm Sandy in the US, was a clear mandate for action on climate change.

As for Indonesia, an archipelagic country having more than 17,500 small and big islands, the climate change and global warming impact was imminent following the rise in sea levels.

Obama already briefly visited Jakarta two years ago on Nov. 9 and 10, 2010, but was forced to cut short his visit in anticipation of possible volcanic ash spewing from Mount Merapi in Central Java, which had erupted at the time.

Another "pulang kampong" or home coming is expected during his second term as Obama once had promised that he would come back with his two daughters to Indonesia one day. (*)


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