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SBY to receive knighthood in UK despite citizens arrest plan

Publication Date : 05-11-2012


During his three-day visit to the United Kingdom, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is set to be bestowed with a prestigious honour by Queen Elizabeth II, in spite of a plan by activists for Papua to make a “citizens arrest” against him.

The title, given by the Queen, may make the activists think twice about arresting Yudhoyono. The Queen is expected to bestow the Honorary Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, an award that has been given to former US president Ronald Reagan, former French president Jacques Chirac and Turkish President Abdullah Gul.

The award is the highest rank of one of the oldest orders of British chivalry.

Presidential spokesperson for foreign affairs Teuku Faizasyah said on Monday that receiving the award from the Queen would only be one of Yudhoyono’s activities in London.

“There will be no special ceremony for the bestowing of the award. The Queen will only show it to the President in a display room after lunch on October 31,” he told reporters.

Yudhoyono was included in the Queen’s guest list in the celebration of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. The invitation by Queen Elizabeth II to Yudhoyono was given personally by Prime Minister David Cameron when he visited Indonesia in April.

Queen Elizabeth II only invited two heads of state, Yudhoyono and The Emir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

During his stay in London, Yudhoyono and his entourage are expected to stay at Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the Queen and her family.

In London, Yudhoyono will have another bilateral meeting with Cameron. He is also scheduled to speak with the country’s top figures including Prince Charles the Prince of Wales, British Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and opposition leader Ed Miliband.

Yudhoyono will also lead the second meeting of the high-level panel on Post-Millenium Development Goals (MDG). Yudhoyono, Cameron and Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson are co-chairs of the panel.

The panel’s meeting in London follows the first, which was held on the sidelines of the UN’s 67th General Assembly session in New York, last month.

Yudhoyono is reported to be uneasy with the citizen arrest plans by pro-Papua independence activists. Presidential spokesperson Julian Aldrin Pasha said that Yudhoyono would not file a complaint with the UK government and that it would not affect the trip to London.

The Free West Papua campaign, which is believed to be based in Great Britain, has offered a reward of 50,000 pounds (US$81,325) to “the first person[s] to perform a citizens arrest” on Yudhoyono during his state visit to the UK.

The activists have said Yudhoyono must be held accountable for allegedly “ordering ongoing genocide in West Papua”.

The website said that anybody could claim the reward if they could “calmly and in a gentle fashion lay a hand on Yudhoyono’s shoulder or elbow, in such a way that he cannot have any cause to complain of being hurt or trapped by you, and announce loudly, ‘Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, this is a citizen’s arrest for genocide and crimes against humanity in West Papua. I am inviting you to accompany me to a police station to answer the charge’.”

The attempt has also to be “reported in at least one mainstream media outlet” because the action would only be “largely symbolic but will have great political resonance”, the website says.

The last State Visit by the Queen and Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, to Indonesia was in 1974 when the British delegation were welcomed by the late president Soeharto.

Yudhoyono, First Lady Ani Yudhoyono and their entourage will depart from the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force base in East Jakarta for London on Tuesday.


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