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Zakir Hussain
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

Asia

Global role next for leader?

The Straits Times | Zakir Hussain | Friday, Sep 5, 2014

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) and his wife Ani Yudhoyono attend celebrations for Indonesia's 69th Independence Day at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, August 17, 2014. The Jakarta Globe newspaper reports that Dr Yudhoyono has been offered positions in at least three international bodies, including the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the Japan-Indonesia Association and the Global Green Growth Institute.

SINGAPORE - As he prepares to leave office, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been approached with offers of a role with the United Nations and a number of international bodies.

Officials say he will consider all these offers, and can still decide after he steps down on Oct 20.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon dropped a hint at a joint press conference at the global forum on the Alliance of Civilisations in Bali last Friday when he said: "I am confident President Yudhoyono will continue to work for humanity, working closely in the future even after his departure from the presidential office (with) the United Nations."

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, asked by reporters on Monday, confirmed the UN offer, but declined to go into specifics.

"As the end of his term nears, and as a recognition of his role all along, there have been many offers for him to continue being involved in international matters," Dr Marty said. "He will consider all those."

Presidential spokesman for foreign affairs Teuku Faizasyah said Dr Yudhoyono had received invitations to contribute in areas of concern to the UN, such as the environment and conflict resolution.

"His thoughts are valued," he said. "He does not have to contribute in a formal capacity, but can do so as an individual."

But Dr Faizasyah rebuffed talk that Dr Yudhoyono wanted to be UN secretary-general, saying he understands that the post is rotated by region. Mr Ban's term ends in December 2016, and observers say it is not likely his successor will be from an Asian country.

Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said Dr Yudhoyono had been offered positions in at least three international bodies, including the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the Japan-Indonesia Association and the Global Green Growth Institute, The Jakarta Globe newspaper reported.

But even as he weighs up a global role, Dr Yudhoyono is likely to continue playing a key role at home, including giving lectures.

In June, he was made professor of national defence by the Indonesian Defence University.


This article was first published on September 3, 2014.
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