The Jakarta Construction, Property & Real Estate Index has advanced 26 percent over the past 12 months, twice as much as the nation’s benchmark index, according to Bloomberg News. (Antara Photo/Zabur Karuru)

Indonesia Demands Explanation From Brazil Over Diplomatic Snub

FEBRUARY 24, 2015

Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi, left, accompanied by the Indonesia Ambassador to Brazil Toto R.J., right, gives a statement to the press regarding the delay in delivery of the ambassador’s credentials to Brazil after meeting President Joko Widodo at the Presidential Palace, in Jakarta on Feb. 24, 2015. (Antara Photo/Ismar Patrizki)

Jakarta. Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Ministry has demanded an explanation from Brazil after President Dilma Rousseff refused to accept the diplomatic credentials of Indonesia's ambassador-designate.

The diplomatic snub was reportedly over the imminent execution of a Brazilian convict on death row for drug trafficking in Indonesia, but Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP. Marsudi has summoned the Brazilian ambassador for an official explanation.

"We don't know the official reason, the information received by the ambassador[-designate] from the Brazilian foreign affairs minister was the postponement was related to the execution," Retno said on Tuesday.

Toto Riyanto, Indonesia's incoming ambassador-designate to Brazil, was informed that his credentials would not be accepted after he had arrived at the president’s palace, expecting to become an ambassador.

Toto has since been recalled to Indonesia and will meet with President Joko Widodo when he returns.

The incident is just the latest diplomatic spate that has been caused by Joko's decision to press on with the execution of inmates — a practice that was only resumed in 2013 after a four-year de-facto moratorium.

The Australian government has been vocal in its opposition to the death penalty and has requested clemency for two members of the “Bali Nine” drug trafficking ring, who are among the next group of inmates scheduled to be shot.

Brazil and the Netherlands withdrew their ambassadors from Indonesia “for consultations” last month after two of their citizens were among six people executed for drugs offenses.

Retno said Joko was noticeably upset with Brazil's latest action.

"This is about the country's dignity and sovereignty because an ambassador's presence represents the Indonesian president," Retno said.

The foreign affairs minister said the Indonesian government was confused by Brazil's actions, especially as the two countries had until recently enjoyed good bilateral relations.

Dina Wisnu, an international relations expert from Paramadina University, said as a president, Joko has an obligation to explain to Brazil why the execution was deemed necessary. Brazil abolished capital punishment in the 19th century, the academic said.

"Brazil will be willing to have their citizens found punished if they were guilty, but not executed," Dina said, adding the government should not be reactive to Brazil's protest.

SHARE