Yudhoyono to address UN

Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will join other world leaders slated to address the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York.

Presidential spokesman for foreign affairs Teuku Faizasyah told The Jakarta Post yesterday that Yudhoyono would deliver his speech after the general debate session kicks off on next Tuesday.

Yudhoyono will share the same podium in the UN General Assembly Hall with other eminent leaders, such as US President Barrack Obama, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Faizasyah refused to disclose highlights from Yudhoyono's forthcoming UN speech because "the draft of the speech is still being finalised and has yet to be approved [by the President]."

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa only said that "a proposal on the peaceful resolution of the heightening tensions in the Middle East" would surely be part of the President's address.

However, it is likely that Yudhoyono will also include a call for world leaders to adopt a protocol on anti-blasphemy measures.

Last Tuesday, he told a Cabinet meeting that he was considering proposing an international protocol banning blasphemy against religious symbols on the heels of worldwide protests against the circulation of the video "Innocence of Muslims" that has been reviled for ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad.

Shortly after the opening session of the general debate, Yudhoyono will join British Prime Minister David Cameron and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to lead the first meeting of the UN High Panel on the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Natalegawa said Yudhoyono would also have bilateral meetings on the sidelines of his activities at the UN with a number of world leaders, such as newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, Norwegian President Jens Stoltenberg and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The 67th regular session of the General Assembly officially opened on Tuesday, last week. An estimated 123 world leaders are to descend on UN Headquarters before the general debate.

Yudhoyono and delegates are scheduled to leave for New York for a series of visits from Sept. 22 to 30.

The President is also scheduled to attend an investors forum, gather with Indonesians in New York, and receive three international awards. One of the awards is the 21st Century Economic Achievement Award by the US-Asean Business Council (Usabc). The award will be bestowed on Sept. 24 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York.

According to a statement by the Cabinet Secretariat, Usabc president Alexander C Feldman said that the award was a recognition of Yudhoyono's achievement as an Asean leader in bringing the Indonesian economy to remarkable levels and improving the credit rating to "investment grade".

"Yudhoyono managed to keep Indonesia's economic growth above 4.5 per cent over the past eight years. Yudhoyono has also made efforts to open wider business opportunities between Indonesia and the US through the US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership," the statement read.

According to Natalegawa, the business forum would be held at the New York Stock Exchange and numerous CEOs and businesspeople from prominent international firms were expected to take part.

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