Saudi King: Unite in fight against terror

Indonesian President Joko Widodo behind the wheel of a golf cart, during the Saudi King's visit to the presidential palace.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo behind the wheel of a golf cart, during the Saudi King's visit to the presidential palace.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

He calls for collaboration to attain global security in address to Indonesian lawmakers

King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia has called on Indonesia to close ranks against terrorism and work closer with his kingdom to achieve world peace.

He said the challenges faced by Muslims and the world in general today, which include terrorism and other threats to state sovereignty, reinforce the need for the two nations to coordinate "efforts and attitudes" for global peace and security.

The call by the King was part of his two-minute address yesterday to Indonesian lawmakers, who had packed the main hall of the House of Representatives in Senayan, South Jakarta.

House Speaker Setya Novanto paid tribute to King Salman by reading a speech delivered in 1970 by King Faisal Abdulaziz - the last Saudi monarch to visit Indonesia.

"Denying the special relationship between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia amounts to denying the existence of the sun while in broad daylight," Mr Setya read, repeating the words of King Faisal in Arabic.

King Salman's visit to Parliament comes a day after Indonesia and Saudi Arabia inked 11 agreements, which include cultural exchanges and collaborations on healthcare, education and security. The pacts were signed just hours after he arrived at the presidential palace in Bogor, West Java, for his meeting with President Joko Widodo.

Indonesia's Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told reporters yesterday that the deals are evidence that relations between the two nations have progressed beyond the energy sector or issues concerning migrant workers or the haj.

"Now our relations also cover business investment, education, transnational organised crime - which includes terrorism," he said.

Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world and it has also seen its share of terrorist attacks by domestic extremists, including those loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

On Monday, a gunman from the Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) was killed in a shoot-out with police in Bandung, West Java, after he and an accomplice detonated a homemade bomb at a local park.

The JAD is a terrorist group in Indonesia with ties to ISIS, which had claimed credit for the attack in Jakarta on Jan 14 last year.

Among the agreements signed was a pact between Indonesian and Saudi police, which reportedly includes Saudi funding to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism.

Local news reports, citing police spokesman Awi Setiyono, yesterday said King Salman has offered haj placements for police officers from the Detachment 88 (Densus 88) counter-terrorism unit.

While details of the arrangement have yet to be finalised, the places will also be offered to the next of kin of Densus 88 officers killed in the line of duty, said Cabinet Secretary Pramono Agung - a reward for the unit's dedication in the war on terror. "They are regarded (by the Saudis) as martyrs," he added.

King Salman's visit continues today in Jakarta before he heads to Bali tomorrow for a vacation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2017, with the headline 'Saudi King: Unite in fight against terror'. Print Edition | Subscribe