Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto. Photo: Indonesia Embassy Singapore
Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto. Photo: Indonesia Embassy Singapore

Prabowo Proposes Peace for Russia War but got Brushes Off by Ukraine

Willy Haryono • 05 June 2023 15:48
Singapore: Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto proposed an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine. He also said that Indonesia was ready to send peacekeeping troops to support ending the war in Europe which had caused tremendous damage and caused many civilians to become victims.
Prabowo conveyed his views as a panelist at the discussion on "Resolving Regional Tensions" at the Shangri-La Dialogue Meeting in Singapore, Saturday, 3 June 2023. The 20th Asia Security Summit opened last Friday, featuring Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese as the keynote speaker.
According to Prabowo, the war in Europe, which has been going on for more than a year now, has had an impact on life all over the world. Even though the challenges facing the world are getting tougher, including the continuing mutation of the Covid-19 virus.

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To prevent the situation from getting worse, including more massive damage in Ukraine and Russia, as well as increasing number of casualties, Prabowo proposed that a declaration be produced from the Shangri-La Dialogue Meeting.
"The first thing we have to do is ask the Ukrainian and Russian parties to implement a ceasefire," said Defense Minister Prabowo, in a written statement received by media crews.
The second step requires both sides to withdraw 15 kilometers from the current ceasefire point.
"Third, ask the United Nations (UN) to form a peacekeeping force and place them in the current demilitarized area. Then the UN will hold a referendum on the people living in the demilitarized area," Prabowo suggested.
He hoped that the proposal to end the war would be approved by all countries. "I decided that Indonesia would be the first country to join the peacekeeping force," said the Minister of Defense.
European Commission High Representative and Vice President Josep Borrell Fontelles, who was a panelist with Prabowo, acknowledged that the costs to be borne by the European Union for the war in Ukraine were very high.
"Military assistance provided by the EU to Ukraine is worth around USD 40 billion. When added to training for Ukrainian troops, the value of the assistance provided can reach USD 60 billion. But if you calculate the cost of living due to high inflation, the value of assistance issued by the EU can reach USD 700 billion," Borrell explained.
He agreed that peace in Ukraine is very important and urgent. The only question is how to achieve that peace.
"Ukraine is not a member of the EU, only a friend of the EU. But the EU feels it has to help because it doesn't want Russia's aggression to continue. The EU doesn't want Ukraine to become like Crimea," Borrell said.
Prabowo's proposal, which was beyond the expectations of the participants, raised questions. They are worried that this proposal will justify Russia's aggression.
"I'm not saying right or wrong. Indonesia's position in aggression against Ukraine is clearly against. What you're saying is a way out. The United Nations must take a stand to resolve this war so that it doesn't drag on and complicate life around the world," said Prabowo.
The solution to demilitarization is not the first time this has been done. According to the Defense Minister, the United Nations had done that in the wars in Korea, then in Vietnam, and also in Africa.

Need dialogue

In the morning session on US leadership in the Indo Pacific, US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin emphasized that the US does not want conflict. US policy in the Indo Pacific is more aimed at creating peace, stability and prosperity.
Minister Austin added that his party would continue to carry out dialogue with all parties to create a world of peace, security and prosperity. "If there is no communication, it will be easy for misunderstandings to occur and people are most afraid of making wrong decisions," said the US Defense Minister.
He deplored China's attitude of not wanting to establish communication with the US. Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu rejected Minister Austin's request to meet at the Shangri-La Dialogue.
"Hopefully this is only a momentary rejection. Then there will be communication established with Chinese military officials," hoped Austin.
The Shangri-La Dialogue will end next Sunday. Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu will have his turn to speak on the last day.

Rejected by Ukraine

The Ukrainian government rejected the peace proposal with Russia offered by Prabowo. Researcher for Russian and Eastern European Studies in International Relations (HI) at Airlangga University (Unair) Surabaya, Radityo Dharmaputra, considered that the refusal was reasonable.
"Because it doesn't make sense, it doesn't match current conditions on the ground, it doesn't take into account the historical and political context of the Eastern European region, and it doesn't match Indonesia's own principles," said Radityo in a statement quoted on Monday, 5 June 2023.
Radityo examined several of Prabowo's proposals. Among other things, a truce which is considered not to guarantee that Russia will attack Ukraine.
“Since the start of the war, there have been many 'ceasefire' attempts, especially by Turkey. It has been recorded that since February 28, 2022 there have been dozens of these attempts. Result: nil!,” he said.
In addition, he criticized Prabowo's offer of a referendum which was carried out in the disputed area. According to Radityo, this is very wrong. He stressed that there were no disputed territories in the war between Russia and Ukraine.
"Are we arguing that a strong country can invade, then we can have a referendum there?" Radityo said.
He conveyed that the ambiguity and amateurism of Prabowo's proposal raises the question of who actually drafted it. He also questioned whether the proposal had been coordinated with President Joko Widodo and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or was it just checking waves.
"Or, even worse, is this just image building ahead of the 2024 elections? Moreover, 'brave' narratives like the poster below have emerged. If so, that means woe to us, because the price paid is Indonesia's reputation in the eyes of the world," he said. (Kevin Schreiber)


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