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Indonesian and Sri Lankan Foreign Ministers Urge EU Consistency in Gaza Conflict Approach

During the 3rd EU-Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum in Brussels, the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Sri Lanka, Retno Marsudi and Ali Sabry, respectively, called for the European Union’s consistent stance on the conflict in Gaza, akin to its approach to the situation in Ukraine. Both ministers emphasized the need for the EU and ASEAN to uphold values and principles of international law, extending these principles to the situation in Palestine and Gaza.

Marsudi stated, “ASEAN and the EU should be at the front line in respecting values and principles of international law, and the respect should also be applied to Palestine, to Gaza.” She expressed confidence that, as supporters of upholding international law, the EU and all members would maintain a consistent position on Gaza.

Ali Sabry echoed similar sentiments, noting a perceived double standard in global approaches to the Middle East. He emphasized that there should be a genuine commitment to doing the right thing for all human beings, regardless of their nationality. Younger European politicians, according to Sabry, understand the importance of treating all parties equally to maintain the credibility of the Western world.

Despite discussions on collaboration, sustainability, and security during the forum and the EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the ongoing Israeli offensive in Gaza dominated the events. European High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell acknowledged the ongoing debate within the EU on the issue, with varying positions among member countries.

While the joint statement following the EU-ASEAN meeting emphasized common ground on condemning attacks against civilians and calling for a durable cease-fire, differences within the EU were evident. The EU is seeking deeper engagement with the Indo-Pacific region, but challenges remain in aligning its strategy with the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy and the Quad.

The absence of China and the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific forum raised questions about the EU’s engagement strategy. While some outcomes were achieved, concerns were raised about the lack of practical measures. The EU spokesperson declined to comment on whether Beijing was invited, emphasizing engagement through other events like the EU-China summit in December. Source: Nikkei Asia 

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