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Use of military force won't help Cairo, says Yudhoyono
Publication Date : 16-08-2013
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has criticised the Egyptian authorities for using the armed forces in dealing with protesters, saying that such a move was undemocratic and violated human rights.
“In the last 24 hours, the situation in Egypt has worsened, resulting in significant loss of life and injuries.
In my view, the use of force, or worse, excessive military force, contradicts democratic values and human rights,” Yudhoyono told a press conference at the State Palace on Thursday.
As of Thursday evening Indonesian time, the death toll from the turbulence in Egypt had risen to 525, according to the Egyptian Health Ministry as reported by Reuters. Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said that at least 43 of the victims killed were members of Egypt’s police force.
News reports, however, provided much higher numbers with some exceeding 1,000. Several outlets claimed to have their reporters counting the dead bodies and found more than 200 in one location.
Nationwide violence took place in the country on Wednesday after police cracked down on loyalists of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi.
Yudhoyono said he had followed the latest crisis in the North-African state with great concern. “All sides in Egypt, be they the government, military or the Muslim Brotherhood, should exercise restraint and avoid further bloodshed. I call on all sides to find the best solution based on the spirit of compromise and a win-win solution,” the pesident said.
"The most critical issue, however, is to reduce the violence and avoid more casualties,” he added.
He also called on the UN Security Council to “pay attention and do more to prevent a humanitarian tragedy in Egypt”.
Citing Indonesia’s experience in dealing with similar challenges after the fall of the late president Soeharto in 1998, Yudhoyono said good military-civilian ties could also be the solution for Egypt. “Indonesia also went through a similar process of reform and political transformation, 15 years ago. Through the spirit of collaboration and cooperation between civilians and the military, Indonesia was able to safely navigate this challenging process,” he said.
Presidential spokesman for foreign affairs Teuku Faizasyah said Yudhoyono had also utilised his international leverage to ask other nations to help the situation in Egypt. “The president has communicated with government leaders of countries with powerful influence, such as the US and members of the Arab League,” he said.
Regardless of the worsening situation, Foreign Ministry spokesman Michael Tene said the evacuation of some 5,000 Indonesians in Egypt, mostly students, was not yet necessary. “The presence of our ambassador [in Egypt] is important, to monitor Indonesian citizens and assess the situation,” Faizasyah said.
The government has also issued a travel warning for citizens planning to travel to Egypt.