Indonesia’s Widodo hits out at injustice ahead of summit

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Indonesian president Joko Widodo says global injustice is ‘obvious’ ahead of a summit to mark a gathering of Asian and African countries 60 years ago.

Indonesia’s Widodo hits out at injustice ahead of summit

Asia, Africa to mark summit that forged post-colonial unity

/ Jakarta (Indonesia) – 22 April 2015 05:12 – AFP

The leaders of China and Japan arrived in Indonesia ahead of a summit beginning Wednesday to mark a crucial gathering of Asian and African countries 60 years ago that helped forge a post-colonial identity.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japan’s Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, both of whom arrived in Indonesia late Tuesday, will join leaders from several African countries as well as Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani at commemorations of the 1955 conference that laid the foundations for the Cold War-era Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

The two-day leaders’ summit in the capital Jakarta — part of a five-day schedule of events — will open Wednesday with a speech from Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Japan’s Abe is also due to address the gathering Wednesday, and his remarks will be closely watched for clues about the content of a statement the premier will make later this year marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The original conference gathered around 30 countries, many of them newly independent after decades of colonialism and foreign occupation, in the city of Bandung on Java island. It was led by Indonesian independence hero Sukarno.

Other prominent figures included Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, who were among leaders who founded the NAM several years later, an organisation for countries that did not want to take sides during the Cold War with either the United States or Soviet Union.

However the NAM has struggled to remain relevant in the post-Cold War era, and some analysts argue that this week’s gathering is more about nations seeking to extend their influence with other participants than a display of solidarity.

China, especially, has been aggressively forging closer links with Africa, whose natural resources help power the country’s growth.

“The bigger states have their own agenda coming here,” said Tobias Basuki, a Jakarta-based political analyst, adding that the scores of countries represented would struggle to come up with a unified message.

Yemen may also feature at the summit, as several member states of major Muslim grouping the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation — such as Iran, who is backing rebels in the conflict — could meet on the sidelines to discuss the crisis.

The majority of leaders at the summit are from Asia or Africa, but there are also a handful from the Middle East.

As well as doubts over the NAM’s relevance, the conference has been marred by the absence of key figures, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — India was a major figure at the original conference — and South African President Jacob Zuma, who cancelled due to a wave of xenophobic violence at home.

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Tags : summit, ahead, injustice, hits, Widodo, Indonesias

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