Indonesia attempts to broker peace between Saudi Arabia and Iran

Indonesia attempts to broker peace between Saudi Arabia and Iran
Shiite Muslims take part in a rally to condemn the execution of Saudi Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, in Lahore, Pakistan.
PHOTO: The Jakarta Post/ANN

Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi has said that Indonesia will remain neutral in a growing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, calling for both countries to exercise restraint and ease tensions.

According to Retno, over the last few days, Indonesia has carried out intensive communication with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Iran and several other countries to discuss possible solutions and to end the dispute.

"We are striving to seek a peaceful solution with all foreign ministers. However, nothing has been concluded yet, as the situation remains unstable," Retno told journalists after an annual press-statement meeting.

Retno said that she had also discussed the issue with Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) secretary-general Iyad Ameen Madani to find ways for Indonesia to contribute to ease the situation.

Retno said that Indonesia was very worried about the deteriorating bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran and its possible effects on peace and stability in Middle East region. "Peace in Middle East depends on the relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran," Retno said.

As good friends of both Saudi Arabia and Iran, Retno said that Indonesia would continue all necessary efforts to prevent the situation from worsening.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry's director general for multilateral affairs, Hasan Kleib, said that Indonesia, home to the world's most numerous Muslim population, should keep intensifying communication with other countries to explore possible forms of dispute settlement.

"We hope that this dispute can be settled immediately through diplomacy," Hasan said.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran - two regional powerhouses - have begun to deteriorate following Riyadh's execution of a Shiite cleric on Saturday.

Hours after the execution, protesters in Shiite-majority Iran attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, leading Saudi Arabia to cut diplomatic relations with Iran on Sunday.

The diplomatic confrontation has continued to simmer, with countries around the world voicing concern and appealing for calm.

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