Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has said that one of the goals of ASEAN is to ensure that the people in the region live peacefully.

"One of the goals (ASEAN) is to ensure our peoples live in peace in a just, democratic, and, once again harmonious environment," she said at the ASEAN Intercultural And Interreligious Dialogue Conference (IIDC) in Jakarta on Monday.

According to Marsudi, in a region so diverse as Southeast Asia, dialogue is very important to bridge mutual understanding and promote mutual respect.

"Indeed, the peace and stability that we enjoy in the region is the result of ASEAN's hard work for years in promoting a culture of dialogue," she said.

In today's world, where geopolitical rivalry has become pervasive and a trust deficit is preventing countries from cooperating, dialogue among nations is more important than ever, she added.

"This is why our foreign policy works hard to foster the habit of dialogue, building on Indonesia's status as a country with the world's largest Muslim population," she continued.

According to Marsudi, there are three goals of ASEAN. First, creating harmony among civilizations.

"If not managed well, diversity only breeds suspicion and hatred. With a growing trend of Islamophobia globally, we may be heading towards a clash of civilizations," she explained.

Indonesia has had interfaith dialogue as a permanent tool in its peace diplomacy to bridge a better understanding of Islam and hold a dialogue with 34 countries worldwide from India to Ethiopia and the Holy See.

"We also seek to show the world how diversity can be used to strengthen social cohesion. A few years back, we built schools, hospitals, and markets in Rakhine State, Myanmar, to provide a space for coexistence between the country's different ethnic and religious groups.

The second goal, Marsudi said, is projecting the image of Islam as rahmatan lil' alamin. Indonesia is a living example of Islam being compatible with modernity and where Islam and tolerance reinforce each other.

"The key is moderation and we are committed to inspiring other Muslim countries to also take a strong stance against radicalism. Islam must be a source of peace," she said.

The third goal is promoting women's rights to education. Marsudi said that Indonesia is always promoting education for all, including women and girls.

"For example, Indonesia and Qatar hosted an International Conference last December in Bali to bolster international support for women's education in Afghanistan," she added.

Marsudi stressed that everyone must actively maintain these efforts by serving as agents of peace in their respective communities.

"Together, we can create a peaceful Southeast Asia, an epicentrum of tolerance and harmony," she added

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Translator: Asri Mayang Sari
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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