INDONESIA CALLS ON PUBLIC TO RESPOND CAUTIOUSLY TO MYANMAR ROHINGYA ISSUE

JAKARTA-- Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto has called on the public to respond cautiously to the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State of Myanmar.

"People should be calm and not act carelessly as the government has taken necessary measures to end the tragedy," Wiranto said in a lecture at Tarumanegara University here on Tuesday.

He noted that President Joko Widodo has taken strict measures as a response to the tragedy and has sent the foreign affairs minister to Myanmar. The move has shown the governments deep concern over the crisis, Wiranto added.

"The public can hold protests as long as they do it peacefully. Do not take your own move and throw molotov cocktails," he noted.

Wiranto, in his lecture, reiterated that it would be unnecessary to withdraw the Indonesian ambassador to Myanmar, as it would complicate aid distribution to the country. "So, do not act carelessly," he remarked.

Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi has proposed a 4 1 formula to Myanmar to help solve the security and humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, where the Muslim Rohingyas were prosecuted.

The formula would comprise efforts to recover security and stability, maximize self-restraint, and avoid violence and protection for all in Rakhine State, regardless of their ethnicity and religion, and open the access for humanitarian aid.

Another element is the effort to implement the recommendation of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The attack on the Myanmar police on Aug 25 by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army has triggered a counter-offensive raid that resulted in the killings of more than 100 people, including civilians.

The incident has forced thousands of Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh to avoid Myanmars worst humanitarian conflict in the last five years.

Meanwhile in the capital Jakarta Wednesday, thousands of Indonesians, led by Islamist groups, held a rally near the Myanmar embassy to protest against the treatment of Rohingya Muslims and demand the snapping of ties between the two countries.

Indonesia has the world's largest population of Muslims and there have been several anti-Myanmar protests in Jakarta and the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur over the treatment of Buddhist-majority Myanmar's roughly 1.1 million Rohingyas, local media reported.

Roads were blocked and barbed wire barriers put up around the embassy, in a leafy district of the capital, which was patrolled by police in riot gear who set up water cannons.

Some protesters chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest), while others shouted slogans such as "Slaughter Myanmar" and "Burn the embassy".

Buddhists should respect Muslims in Myanmar in the same way that Muslims respected Buddhists in Indonesia, one speaker told the crowd, using a loud-hailer.

A news agency reported that some protesters at the Jakarta rally called for the expulsion of the Myanmar ambassador over the issue, as well as for diplomatic ties between the two countries to be severed.

Myanmar embassy staff would be safe, however, said a foreign ministry spokesman, Armanatha Nasir.

"It is the responsibility of the host countries to ensure the safety of all diplomatic missions and their personnel," the spokesman said. "Indonesia takes this responsibility seriously."

At the weekend, a petrol bomb was thrown at the embassy causing a small fire.

Indonesian police have also pledged to bar Islamist groups from staging a rally on Friday at the Borobudur Buddhist temple in central Java to protest against the treatment of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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