Indonesian minister cancels all meetings after Dutch minister criticises executions

Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan cancelled a number of official meetings in the Netherlands after Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Environment Melanie Schultz van Haegen pulled out of an investors' forum, where both ministers were scheduled to meet.

The ministry said in a release on Saturday that van Haegen, a politician from the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), abruptly pulled out of the investor's forum in Den Haag, which ran on Thursday and Friday, to protest Indonesia's execution of eight drug convicts on April 29.

During the forum, van Haegen and Jonan were due to discuss transportation projects along with Dutch and Indonesian businesspeople.

As businesspeople from both countries were already present, Jonan was replaced by the ministry's expert on logistics and multimode, Sugihardjo, and its director for ports and dredging, Adolf Tambunan.

"The Dutch business sector regretted van Haegen's action. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's aim to develop Indonesia's maritime sector had greatly attracted their interest and they wanted to know the details from Minister Jonan himself," the ministry said in a statement.

"They deplored the Dutch government's mixing politics with business."

Jonan cancelled all items on the official agenda for his visit to the Netherlands after discussing the matter with the Indonesian Foreign Ministry. Following the cancellation, Jonan held informal meetings with several local transportation businesses.

Before stopping in the Netherlands, Jonan and his entourage had visited London and Riga.

In London, Jonan met with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) secretary-general Koji Sekimizu and with investors in the railway and shipping sectors and he delivered a speech to a business circle at Asia House.

During his visit to Riga, Jonan attended the third Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Transport Ministers' Meeting and held bilateral talks with a number of European ministers.

Indonesia executed Dutch citizen Ang Kiem Soei, alias Tommi Wijaya, on Jan. 18 for operating a huge ecstasy factory. Soei's execution triggered a temporary recalling of the Dutch Ambassador to Jakarta.