UN chief praises Indonesia for its contribution to peacekeeping mission

Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has praised Indonesia for its contribution to the UN peacekeeping mission.

"We are lucky that almost 1,700 UN peacekeeping personnel have come from Indonesia," he said during a press conference held on the sidelines of the Sixth United Nations Global Alliance for Civilizations (UNAOC) Forum here on Friday.

Ban Ki-moon, who was accompanied by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and UNAOC high representatives at the press conference, urged Syrian militants to immediately release the 43 Fijian peacekeeping troops they were holding hostage.

He further noted that Indonesia is always at the forefront of efforts to promote sustainable development and is the worlds third-largest democratic country, adding that it has set a good example in organizing its general elections.

"I highly appreciate Indonesia with regard to the issue of climate change. I have invited President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to a climate change meeting to be held in New York on September 23," he said.

Ban Ki-moon claimed on Friday that negotiations to free the Fijian peacekeeping troops being held hostage by Syrian militants at the Golan Heights were underway.

The 6th UNAOC Forum, held at Balis Nusa Dua Convention Center on Friday, aims to bridge inter-civilization communication across the world.

The meeting is being attended by 114 members of UNAOCs Group of Friends and 20 ministerial-level officials.

The UNAOC was initiated by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan on July 14, 2005, and was co-sponsored by former prime minister of Spain Jose Luis Rodreguez Zapatero and Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The first UNAOC Global Forum was held in Madrid, Spain, in 2008 to jointly condemn extremist actions, such as bomb attacks in Bali, Madrid, Istanbul, and London, as well as in parts of Egypt.

The Bali Forum, this year, is being attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, UN High Representative of the UNAOC Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, and prominent speakers from government and non-government organizations.

The Global Forum, themed "Unity in Diversity," a translation of Indonesias national motto "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika," lays emphasis on the four pillars of Education, Youth, Media, and Migration. The motto mirrors the outlook of Indonesias founding fathers and embraces the wealth of Indonesias cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity.


Reporting by Imam Santoso