PDI-P takes swipe at Prabowo over controversial Ukraine peace plan

The PDI-P suggested that its own presidential nominee would never propose a plan incongruent with the country's diplomatic stance.

Yerica Lai

Yerica Lai

The Jakarta Post


Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto attends the inaugural working meeting of House of Representatives Commission I overseeing defense and security in Jakarta, in this file photo from 2019.(JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

June 8, 2023

JAKARTA – After outlining an unapproved plan for peace in Ukraine at one of Asia’s foremost defense summits, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto has come under fire from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) for appearing to undermine the country’s official foreign policy position, as the minister meets with envoys from Russia and Ukraine.

The PDI-P, to which President Joko “Jokowi’ Widodo belongs, took a swipe at Prabowo, a frontrunner for the presidency next year, suggesting that its own presidential nominee Ganjar Pranowo would never propose a peace plan incongruent with the country’s diplomatic stance.

On the sidelines of the party’s national meeting on Wednesday, secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto said Indonesia did not need a leader who made suggestions that strayed from the country’s principle of “free and active” diplomacy.

“There should be no leader in this country making foreign and defense policies, including a peace proposal, by leaving out the free and active principle [as reflected in our] leadership at the Asian-African Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement, or disregarding the way the country respects United Nations resolutions,” Hasto said.

“Jokowi has emphasized that [the proposal] did not come from the President. This is a very clear explanation from the President himself,” Hasto said. “All [policies] must be in unison with the President.”

Hasto claimed that if PDI-P candidate Ganjar were to take a public stance on the Russia-Ukraine war, he would remain faithful to the free and active principle and his proposals would not elicit international backlash.

The party would incorporate defense and diplomacy issues into Ganjar’s campaign platform, Hasto added, ahead of the 2024 presidential race.

Read also: Kyiv slams Prabowo’s Russia-Ukraine peace plan

At the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore over the weekend, Prabowo proposed the controversial peace strategy, which included a cease-fire, a withdrawal of Russian and Ukrainian troops 15 kilometers from their forward positions to create a demilitarized zone and the deployment of a monitoring force from the UN, which would also oversee a referendum in the disputed areas.

Ukraine has dismissed the plan, reiterating Kyiv’s position that Russia should unconditionally withdraw its troops from the occupied territory.

Jokowi has said he will hold a meeting with Prabowo sometime this week to seek clarification on the plan, which he said the minister had failed to consult with him on.

Read also: Prabowo meets Russian, Ukrainian envoys in wake of peace speech

On Tuesday, Prabowo met with Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Georgievna Vorobieva at the Defense Ministry’s headquarters in Central Jakarta, one day after he met with Ukrainian Ambassador to Indonesia Vasyl Hamianin.

“At the meeting, we discussed cooperation in the defense and military fields, as well as improving the capability of the Indonesian Military’s [TNI] weapon systems […]. We also gave input on ways to create peace between Ukraine and Russia,” Prabowo wrote on Instagram.

In his meeting with Ukraine’s Hamianin, Prabowo said he reiterated Indonesia’s free and active foreign policy and that the country would maintain its desire to be friends with all countries in the world.

“We support enlightened moves to create world peace and order,” Prabowo said in a statement.

Russian news agency TASS, quoting a source at the Kremlin, reported that Russian diplomats had met with Indonesian officials to discuss a peace initiative in Ukraine.

“Such a meeting did take place,” the source said on Tuesday.

“There are no details yet,” he added, without disclosing who participated in the meeting.

TASS also reported that Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko said Russia would consider all incoming proposals on settlement in Ukraine, including from Indonesia.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky has proposed a 10-point peace plan that calls on Russia to withdraw all its troops from Ukraine.

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