Musharraf Wins Indonesian Support for Mideast Plan

JAKARTA ~ Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf won support from Indonesia this week for his new initiative of an Islamic solution to bring peace to the Middle East.
Musharraf said his trip to Indonesia was to discuss “the turmoil within the Muslim world” with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“We both felt that the time has come for action and that there is not room for complacency because things are moving so fast, things are deteriorating so fast, that we need to arrest this deteriorating trend,” he told reporters at a joint press conference with Yudhoyono on Wednesday.
He said they had “reviewed the turmoil in Palestine, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Afghanistan” and had come to an agreement about the need for a new initiative to contribute to resolving disputes in the Muslim world.
Outlining his plan, Musharraf said they would gather a group of influential and like-minded Muslim countries “to contribute towards resolution of the disputes which are festering within the Muslim world.”
The group would consult with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and develop its ideas on how to advance the peace process in the Muslim world.
“We hope to contribute jointly towards peace and harmony not only within the Muslim world but also in the whole world at large,” said Musharraf.
Yudhoyono, head of the world’s most populous Muslim country, welcomed the initiative.
“I welcome and I support fully the idea of consulting all leaders of like-minded Islamic countries to be part of the overall solution bringing peace to the Middle East,” he said.
Musharraf was also optimistic his plan would win backing from the West.
“If the group is like-minded, is strong, is credible and is acceptable to all, it will have a voice which will be heard by all,” he said.
“Since the West is looking and searching for methods and new ideas of bringing peace to the region, I think any new idea, any new initiative would be acceptable to them as long as it is workable and credible and acceptable to all,” he said.
Musharraf has already met with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates to seek support for his plan.
Separately, President Yudhoyono said he supports Pakistan’s bid to become a dialogue partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations later this year.
“Indonesia … supports Pakistan becoming a full dialogue partner of ASEAN, which is something that will be discussed in the ASEAN forum,” he said.
Musharraf said he brought up the issue during talks on economic and diplomatic issues.
“I raised this issue of Pakistan’s desire to become a full dialogue partner within the ASEAN and I must express my gratitude to the president for his expression of support … during the summit meeting this year,” he said.

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