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Indonesian diplomat says comments were taken out of context

Dear Editor,

With reference to the Phnom Penh Post’s article titled Post-accords, world’s gaze shifted (October 21), we are very disturbed by one sentence – “. . . recalling Hun Sen was ‘a man who plays politics with guns’” – that was written in connection with an informal conversation with one of Phnom Penh Post’s journalists, Shaun Turton, to the former Indonesian delegate to the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991, Ambassador Wiryono Sastrohandoyo, Indonesian representative to the 25th Anniversary of Paris Peace Agreement in Phnom Penh. The conversation was conducted in an informal dinner, where the political counsellor of the Embassy of Indonesia was also in attendance.

While we are aware of the impact that might be caused, we are obliged to make the following clarification:

1. We deeply regret that the Phnom Penh Post wrote the said comment, since the content given during the conversation was entirely free willing and the personal thoughts of Ambassador Wiryono Sastrohandoyo. The official views of Government of the Republic of Indonesia conveyed and reflected during the Symposium of 25th Year Anniversary of Paris Peace Agreement, which wasn’t even quoted by the Mr Turton. In fact, the particular sentence written in the article was clearly out of the context and purpose of the conversation, which was the commemoration of the Peace Paris Agreement.

2. Before leaving Phnom Penh on the 21st, Ambassador Wiryono Sastrohandoyo had the chance to send his clarification message to the Ambassador of Indonesia to Cambodia as follows: “I was quoted in a misleading way. The context was the time when Cambodia was in civil war, so every faction was ‘playing politics by the guns’. It was Indonesia’s policy to end the hostility by preventive diplomacy.” Furthermore, there was no intention whatsoever from Ambassador Wiryono Sastrohandoyo to mention Prime Minister Hun Sen.

3. Ambassador Wiryono Sastrohandoyo and the Indonesian Embassy in Phnom Penh fully reaffirmed the importance of maintaining the excellent bilateral relations between Indonesia and Cambodia as well as the spirit of ASEAN solidarity, rather than the misleading news released by the Phnom Penh Post, which can potentially disturb and damage our bilateral relations.

Thank you.

Jahardi Fischer P Nadeak
Political counsellor of the Indonesian Embassy in Phnom Penh

Editor’s note: The Post stands by the accuracy of the quotes in question, which came during an on-the-record interview, and do not believe they were taken out of context.

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