Subject: Amien hits out at Kissinger and other foreign advisors

Jakarta Post March 02, 2000

Amien hits out at foreign advisors

JAKARTA (JP): People's Consultative Assembly Speaker Amien Rais said on Wednesday Indonesia did not need foreign advisors, thus President Abdurrahman Wahid's appointment of several foreign dignitaries in that role was merely a symbolic gesture.

"We don't need Kissinger, Lee Kwan Yew, Goh Chok Tong or Qaddafi," Amien remarked.

"If Gus Dur appoints an outsider as an advisor it's merely symbolic. But if it's a real advisor then we have to reject it because we are a sovereign state," Amien said referring to the President by his popular nickname.

President Abdurrahman recently asked former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger to become his advisor. Abdurrahman had earlier also said he appointed Singapore senior minister Lee Kwan Yew as his economic advisor.

Amien charged that such appointments, if taken seriously, would only add to the regiment of presidential advisors.

"Maybe at one point we would have (Australian Prime Minister) John Howard as general advisor to inspect security in the Asia Pacific region," he quipped, referring to the much touted "Howard Doctrine" recently condemned by Asian leaders in which the Australian prime minister suggested that his country could take over the role of the United States to "police" the region.

"Then we could possibly have (Chinese) President Jiang Zemin as advisor on Chinese diplomacy. I think this is all just fooling around," he remarked.

When asked for his comments on President Abdurrahman's apology in East Timor on Tuesday, Amien said such a remark should only be considered a diplomatic courtesy.

But he warned that if Abdurrahman's statement was an official apology, then the President was going too far.

Amien asserted that people should also recognize that East Timorese themselves were also to blame for the deaths of thousands in the territory. He asserted that East Timorese should also bear much of the responsibility of the events dating back to the time of integration. (mds)


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