JOKOWI SAYS INDONESIA USES HARD AND SOFT POWER IN FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM by Fardah
Jakarta, Feb 18, 2016 (Antara) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) shared Indonesia's experiences in dealing with terrorism at a special session on counterterrorism during the US-ASEAN Summit held in Sunnylands, California, the United States (US), on February 17.
The President emphasized the importance of moderation, peace, and tolerance during the session attended by President Barack Obama and leaders of the ASEAN member countries. He outlined three points: promoting tolerance in the fight against terrorism and extremism, addressing the root cause of the problem, as well as creating conducive conditions. "A combination of hard and soft power is needed to deal with extremism," the President, who was honored as the first speaker at the session, stated. With regard to hard power, Indonesia is currently reviewing the Law on Terrorism in order to strengthen the legal umbrella to tackle terrorism, he explained. "Of course, the legislation can be strengthened while respecting human rights," he affirmed. As for soft power, the government has been adopting religious and cultural approaches and involving the community and religious organizations. The government has also used diversified approaches to promote de-radicalism and to counter radicalism, according to Jokowi. Besides this, the government has carried out rehabilitation and reintegration programs for terror inmates. The Head of State specifically cited the handling of the Jakarta attack on January 14, 2016, as an example. Eight people, including one Canadian and four perpetrators were killed, and 24 others injured, comprising five police officers, one Dutch national, one Austrian, one German and one Algerian, in the attack by a radical group led by Bahrun Naim, allegedly linked to ISIS. He commended the Indonesian security personnel for having successfully curbed terror acts. "I am also proud of the Indonesian security personnel," he said in the first US-ASEAN summit hosted by the US government. He acknowledged the sympathy and attention given by the United States and other ASEAN member countries following the attack in Jakarta. In a relatively short period of time, the situation was brought under control, and life in Jakarta returned to normal, he pointed out. "But, we remain vigilant against terror threats," the President added. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of maintaining political stability, promoting democracy, and reducing the number of foreign terrorist fighters. Around 329 Indonesian citizens were in Syria, he added. The President also conveyed his ideas to utilize social media and encourage the people¿s participation to curb extremism and terrorism, because terrorists often use social media for their propaganda. Jokowi reiterated his idea on promoting messages of moderation, peace and tolerance while visiting the headquarters of Facebook, Twitter and Google. "I call on @Twitter to participate in the dissemination of messages of tolerance and world peace - Jkw," the President stated on his Twitter handle from the headquarters. The Indonesian Head of State also lauded Twitter's role as a crucial media platform that promotes positive values, such as democracy and good governance to the public. Furthermore, Jokowi expressed the hope that Twitter would increase cooperation with Indonesia in spreading humanitarian messages. The President cited disaster response, tolerance, moderation, and peace as examples of such messages. Social media platforms can be an option for defending people from extremist concepts, he said. However, he also noticed that there were many invitations to join extremist groups through social media. "Thus, we should cooperate with social media to spread the message of peace and tolerance as a counter-narrative effort," the President said to Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey. To Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he conveyed a similar message. "I urge Facebook to increase the spread of the message of tolerance, moderation, and peace," Jokowi affirmed. Jokowi appeared as the first speaker at the special session at the invitation of President Obama, according to the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry's Director for Dialogue Partner and Inter-Regional Cooperation Derry Aman recently. In the opening session, Obama reminded that the United States and ASEAN must remain vigilant, share more information, and work together to fight terrorism. "As we were reminded again by the attack in Jakarta last month, the scourge of terrorism demands that we stay vigilant, share more information, and work cooperatively to protect our people," the US President stated. The US and ASEAN can together also continue to intensify security cooperation to meet shared challenges, he said. "Finally, together, we can continue to do more around the world to meet transnational challenges that no one nation can meet alone," he affirmed. On the conclusion of the US-ASEAN Summit, the leaders from 11 countries declared 17 key principles that will guide their cooperation going forward. Among other things, they shared a commitment to peaceful resolution of disputes, maintain peace, security and stability in the region, and resolve to lead on global issues such as terrorism and violent extremism. ***2*** (T.F001/A/BESSR/A. A) 18-02-2016 22:31:06