Jakarta. Many Middle East countries are involved in various conflicts, ranging from Sunni versus Shia, democracy versus authoritarian ideologies, conflict over energy, to civil war. In maintaining bilateral relations with those countries, Indonesia shall remain neutral. Vice President Jusuf Kalla stated this when receiving courtesy call by six Indonesian Ambassador Candidates to be posted in the Middle East, today at his office.

The Middle East, he added, is politically and economically at the nadir point at the moment, which is caused by among other things foreign intervention. ISIS, he took for an example, first grew in Iraq as the country was in the weak condition.

“Some big countries then came and imposed democracy in the country, but using non-democratic ways,” said the Vice President, adding that he always stated this even in world forums like in the UN Assembly.

However, Mr Kalla said, there are some other Middle East countries which are in stable condition, and even emerging like United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

“This is because they have visionary leaders. They develop tourism industry which attracts   visitors not only from the Arab countries which is populated by around 30 million people, but also the world with targeted visitors of one billion people,” said the Vice President.

The Middle East, according to him, is thus very complex with modern countries in one side, and failed states derailed by radicalism in another side.

“To cope with radicalism and terrorism, Indonesia is not going to join any military forces with other countries as we believe that we cannot fight against those violent ideologies with weapons,” he affirmed, adding that   both ideologies can only be tackled with proper education, Islamic teaching, better economy, and justice.

Concluding the meeting, the Vice President required all the Ambassador candidates to put forward the national interest.

“A clear strategy should be arranged to promote national economic growth and long-term investment,” he said.

The Ambassador candidates attending the meeting were Mr Basri Sidehabi to be posted in Qatar, Mr Helmy Fauzy to be posted in Egypt, Mr Agus Maftuh to be posted in Saudi Arabia, Mr Musthofa Taufik Abdul Latif to be posted in Oman, Mr Husnan Bey Fananie to be posted in Azerbaijan, and Mr Husin Bagis to be posted in the United Emirat Arab.