Indonesian support is like telling New Zealand that we are stronger than the tragedy itself
Jakarta (ANTARA) - New Zealand Ambassador-designate to Indonesia Dr Jonathan Austin expressed his nation's gratitude for the support lent by the Indonesian government and people after terrorist attacks at a mosque and an Islamic Center in Christchurch last March.

"Indonesia's support is akin to telling New Zealand that we are stronger than the tragedy itself, and we really laud it," Austin stated at an interview at the "International Corner" of Antara News Agency here on Thursday.

The ambassador-designate also praised the Indonesian government for its support to the "Christchurch Call," an initiative from New Zealand to encourage social media platforms to take greater accountability in combating violent extremist content by curbing its distribution online.

Austin noted that Indonesia was standing alongside New Zealand to highlight the crucial role of social media in preventing terrorism and is a matter of serious concern for its devastating effects akin to the incidents at Al Noor Mosque and an Islamic Center in Christchurch.

"When a terrorist, not from New Zealand, chose to come to New Zealand and kill people, hurt our people... We are very-very shocked about that. Hence, what we are really concerned is how to curb this content to be distributed online, so that nobody will get influenced by it," he stated.

"The Indonesian government's support also showed that the G-to-G (government-to-government) relations between New Zealand and Indonesia are close and that we work together on the global stage," Austin affirmed.

New Zealand's diplomat, who had been staying in Jakarta for about 20 years, also offered his condolences to the family of an Indonesian national, who died in the attack in which two others were injured.

"We have around six thousand Indonesians in New Zealand, and sadly, some of them have become victims. All this time, we live in harmony, and such action has tried to divide us, but at the end of the day, we are all human, and humanity should rank higher than religiosity, political choices, race, etc," he emphasized.

During his visit to the Antara newsroom, Austin also discussed his role as the new ambassador to Indonesia during his meeting with Antara Editor in Chief Akhmad Munir and Head of International Desk Gusti Cahya Aryani.

Austin admitted to being eager to hand over his credential letter to President Joko Widodo in early August since he arrived in Jakarta three months ago.

"After that, the first thing I would do is to celebrate. Hence, I will be going out to have a really good satay or rendang to celebrate that 'Oh, now I am officially the ambassador to Indonesia,'" he stated humorously, while adding that he might gain weight quickly during his service in Indonesia for his love for Indonesian food, including spicy dishes.

Translator: Azizah Fitriyanti
Editor: Bambang Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2019