10 Dec 2013
Dear all, Honorable Jesse Kuijper, Chairman of Indonesia-Nederland Society (INS), Distinguished Members INS, Friends of Indonesia,
Thank you all for being here today. At the outset, I wish to express my thanks and appreciation to the Indonesia-Nederland Society for considering me worthy of the Linggajati Award 2013. I am honoured to receive the award along with my good friend Dr. Bernard B. Bot, former Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Netherlands, and to be given the opportunity to speak with you about one of the ways we can foster and promote values of mutual respect between our societies.
As Foreign Minister of Indonesia I in 2006 visited the site of the Linggarjati Conference located in Kuningan, West Java. I do appreciate the contributions of INS in restoring Linggarjati compound and, therefore, help preserve a historic site in the annals of history of Indonesia and the Netherlands.
Linggadjati was a less popular juncture in Indonesian national history simply because it had belittled the proclamation of Indonesian Independence – which was supposed to cover the whole former Dutch East Indies.
In other words, the Linggajati Agreement, which recognized the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia, as only Sumatra, Java, and Madura, was seen as a failure. Intense nationalist feelings and readiness to regain our independence through armed struggle (perjuangan), the Linggajati Agreement was in contrast associated with Indonesia’s capitulation. However, through time, the Linggajati Agreement was seen as the beginning of a process of peaceful conflict resolution; which made diplomacy a more acceptable alternative track to armed struggle.
I remembered clearly when Ben visited Indonesia in August 2005. I do believe that Indonesia will never forget that he delivered a historic statement that ‘on moral and political grounds’, the Netherlands recognized Indonesia’s independence as proclaimed on the 17 August 1945.
Ben actually delivered a message of goodwill and reconciliation. We should not forget our history but with the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation, we should make our forward-looking cooperation under the comprehensive partnership a productive one.
As Foreign Ministers, Ben and I worked closely in expanding and deepening all aspects of the bilateral relations between the Netherlands and Indonesia. I must say that I am fortunate to have Ben, who at the time worked together rigorously to set a new course of cooperation and partnership for our future generations.
Linggadjati is an important episode of our long, shared, and common history. Our colonial past does not only bind us, together we have become one of the most vibrant societies in the modern world. Our democracies have sparked the spirit of mutual respect and paved new road of opportunity for our people.
We welcome that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Mark Rutte finally launched the comprehensive partnership during his official visit to Indonesia last month. As two resilient but dynamic economies, I believe the comprehensive partnership would make our two countries politically closer, economically beneficial, but most importantly, it fosters harmonious social relations among our peoples.
It is my hope that you will gain from my words, and from our example, a renewed sense of optimism, trust, and hope of a better future together. Although our cooperation has significantly improved over the years, we must also recognize the responsibilities that come with it. Building a bridge requires hard work, diligence, and trust. It is a work in progress and at times the process will be challenging. With your support, I am sure we’ll be seeing a better relationship between our two countries and peoples.