Address by Dr. Bernard Bot Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands On the 60th anniversary of the Republic of Indonesia's independence declaration Jakarta, 16 August 2005

 8/22/2005

Colleagues, ...
Honoured guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. SAYA MERASA MENDAPAT KEHORMATAN BERADA DI SINI BERSAMA BAPAK-BAPAK DAN IBU-IBU PADA MALAM INI.
     
  2. I am here today in my capacity as a Dutch minister to pay my respects to the Indonesian people, a people with whom we Dutch have had strong bonds for hundreds of years.
      
  3. Tomorrow, your country will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of your declaration of independence, the Proklamasi. It is an historic moment on which I would like to congratulate Indonesia on behalf of the entire Dutch government. Allow me also to congratulate our trusted partner, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on its 60th anniversary on 19 August.

    Ladies and gentlemen,
      
  4. This is the first time since Indonesia declared its independence that a member of the Dutch government will attend the celebrations. Through my presence the Dutch government expresses its political and moral acceptance of the Proklamasi, the date the Republic of Indonesia declared independence. Only when someone is standing on the summit of the mountain can he see what would have been the simplest and shortest way up. This applies equally to the people on the Dutch side who were involved in the decisions taken from 1945 onwards. Only in hindsight does it become clear that the separation between Indonesia and the Netherlands was marked by more violence and lasted longer than was necessary.

    Ladies and gentlemen,
      

  5. If a society wants to face the future with its eyes open, it must also have the courage to confront its own history. This applies to every country, including the Netherlands and the Republic of Indonesia. Within the context of 17 August, this means that we Dutch must admit to ourselves, and to you the Indonesians, that during the colonial period and especially its final phase harm was done to the interests and dignity of the Indonesian people - even if the intentions of individual Dutch people may not always have been bad.
  6. The end of the Japanese occupation of Indonesia did not bring an end to the suffering of the Indonesian people nor to that of the Dutch community in Indonesia. The Japanese occupation and the period directly after the Proklamasi were followed by an extremely painful, violent parting of the ways between our countries and communities.  

  7. In retrospect, it is clear that its large-scale deployment of military forces in 1947 put the Netherlands on the wrong side of history. The fact that military action was taken and that many people on both sides lost their lives or were wounded is a harsh and bitter reality especially for you, the people of the Republic of Indonesia. A large number of your people are estimated to have died as a result of the action taken by the Netherlands. On behalf of the Dutch government, I wish to express my profound regret for all that suffering.
  8. Although painful memories never go away, they must not be allowed to stand in the way of honest reconciliation. The Indonesian and Dutch veterans who fought one another at that time have been setting a good example for many years by commemorating victims of both sides together. Ali Boediardjo, the former Secretary of the Republic's negotiating delegation, was speaking about reconciliation in 1990 when he said: "We have one basic principle in common, that is humanism, which means that one can understand his fellow-man and can forgive the evil he has done."  

  9. This is also an important moment for me personally. The country where I was born, Indonesia, and the Netherlands, my motherland, are reaching out to one another and opening a new chapter in their relations. Let us apply ourselves to deepening our friendship with dedication and in harmony. And may our friendship serve the interests of the common challenges all of us will have to meet in the twenty-first century. Let us work together for peace, justice and prosperity.  

  10. Reconciliation will also be high on the agenda in Aceh. The Indonesian government and the GAM signed a peace agreement yesterday in Helsinki. On behalf of the Dutch government, I would like to congratulate both parties on the results achieved and hope that this will mean lasting peace for the people of Aceh. Because even more than all the aid from the international community, this peace agreement will be decisive for the prosperous development of the province. The role of the EU and ASEAN in monitoring the peace agreement is an important new step in the growing relationship between the EU and ASEAN. 

    Ladies and gentlemen,  

  11. The Republic of Indonesia is an important partner for the Netherlands. Your country is a driving force behind regional integration in Southeast Asia and dialogue with the European Union. And your country is assuming a prominent position in the dialogue of cultures. The secular Republic of Indonesia not only has more Muslims than any other count..y in the world, it is also a faithful guardian of centuries-old Buddhist, Hindu and Christian traditions. Dutch society too is rich in traditions, cultures and religions. So let us carry the Indonesian motto bhineka tunggal ika - "unity in diversity", which is also the motto of the European Union, in our hearts, as a permanent goal to strive for. Let Indonesia and the Netherlands, each from in its own unique position and drawing on our historical ties, make a positive contribution to understanding and respect between countries and peoples.  

  12. I look forward to tomorrow's celebrations of 60 years of the Proklamasi.

PERSAHABATAN TIDAK MENGENAL BATAS NEGARA 

Knowing that you have friends on the other side of the world inspires confidence ­like-minded friends to whom you feel connected and with whom you can journey on the path to the future.
 
MARl KITA MENYONGSONG MASA DEPAN BERSAMA-SAMA DENGAN PENUH KEYAKINAN.
 
TERIMA KASIH BANYAK