No one hindering President Jokowi-SBY meeting: Presidential staff

"The proposal for a meeting can be conveyed personally. The two can make a telephone contact also on their own as they both have good relations. I am convinced that SBY did communicate with Jokowi once," revealed Budi.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - No one can become an obstacle in President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) meeting former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), presidential special staff, Johan Budi SP, has said.

"I suggest that Pak (Mr) SBY should mention the name of the person (who tried to prevent the meeting from happening). As far as I know, no one can do so. No one can be a hindrance if the president has decided to meet (someone). Probably, there has been some misinformation but as far as I know, the Jokowi-SBY relations remain good," Budi stated at the State Secretariat in Jakarta on Thursday.

In a press conference on Wednesday, SBY observed that someone had been trying to deter President Jokowi from meeting him.

"There are three (different) sources who told me that he (Jokowi) also wants to meet me but was not being allowed by two or three persons around him. I think these persons are powerful as they can prevent a president from meeting his friend who is also a former president," SBY added.

President Jokowi had held meetings with some of the former presidents and general chairmen of political parties some months ago. However, he has not yet met with SBY, who was Indonesias sixth president and the general chairman of the Democrat Party.

"I once again reiterate that there are no personal issued between Jokowi and SBY. In fact, they have good relations. It is not correct for people outside to claim that there was any reluctance on the part of anyone as far as a meeting between SBY and Jokowi was concerned," Budi noted.

However, Budi claimed to have no knowledge about when can the two meet. "I still remember that when journalists asked him (Jokowi) during a meeting with political party leaders, the president had said it was only a matter of time (before he meets SBY). However, I do not know when it would happen," Budi stressed.

SBY can directly submit a proposal for such a meeting to President Jokowi.

"The proposal for a meeting can be conveyed personally. The two can make a telephone contact also on their own as they both have good relations. I am convinced that SBY did communicate with Jokowi once," revealed Budi.

SBY has expressed his wish to meet and speak openly with President Joko Widodo regarding rumors linking him to the recent rallies connected to Islam and the issue of treason.

"Unfortunately, there is still no opportunity for me to meet the president, Bapak (Mr) Jokowi. If he could, he would have talked openly and sought to know who had given him the intelligence report accusing me of having funded the 411 (November 4, 2016) rally and linking me with a plot to bomb the State Palace and topple the government," he observed on Wednesday.

SBY made the statement at a press conference in response to a statement by the lawyers of the incumbent governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok), who had claimed having evidence of a telephonic conversation between SBY and Maruf Amin, the general chairman of the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI), regarding the MUIs edict in Ahoks case.

Ahok is being tried on charges of alleged blasphemy for having quoted a verse from Quran at a meeting with some people on the Pramuka island in North Jakarta in September last year.

SBY pointed out that he was not angry about the statement given by Ahoks lawyers, but had asked law enforcement agencies to investigate if his conversations were tapped illegally as he is a former president.

He explained that he felt compelled to provide clarification to Jokowi regarding accusations of funding the 411 rally, plotting to bomb the State Palace and involvement in treason.

"I actually wish to clarify the rumors to prevent misunderstanding, suspicion, prejudice and bad feeling," he stated, adding it would be better if he could meet Jokowi and clarify things.

SBY is the father of Agus Harimurti, who would be contesting the gubernatorial election on Feb 15 with Sylviana Murni as his running mate.

Ahok would run along with his deputy Djarot Syaiful Hidayat, while Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga Uno form the other pair.(*)

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