Indonesia has rejected a U.S. request to join the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Antara news agency reported on Saturday (see GSN, Dec. 15, 2005).
“The U.S. has asked Indonesia to join the PSI but our foreign minister has firmly rejected it,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Desra Percaya said on Friday.
Under the agreement, countries allow snap inspections of one another’s cargo ships in international waters when such vessels are suspected of carrying illicit WMD-related shipments. Jakarta believes implementation of the initiative would challenge Indonesia’s sovereignty and run counter to the 1992 International Convention on the Law of the Sea, Percaya said.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made the request during a visit last week. In a speech, she also expressed U.S. willingness to help Southeast Asian countries secure their waterways.
“Our country is ready to help countries such as Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand to secure the Malacca Strait which is an important trading lane as one-fourth of the world’s oil supply is distributed through the strait,” she said.
Percaya said Rice still planned to dispatch an expert delegation to Indonesia to present PSI details and attempt to persuade the country to join.
“It is a diplomatic step but in principle we will not participate in the PSI and Foreign Minister Hasan Wirayudha has firmly rejected it,” he said (Antara news agency/BBC Monitoring, March 18).