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Indonesia Pressures UN to Designate Jemaah Islamiyah a Terrorist Organization - 2002-10-24

The Indonesian government supports a proposed United Nations resolution to designate Jemaah Islamiyah a terrorist organization. Jakarta's support for the resolution does not necessarily mean officials believe the group is active in Indonesia. A Foreign Ministry spokesman says Indonesia not only supports having the United Nations label Jemaah Islamiyah a terrorist organization, but has been pressuring the U.N. Security Council to do so. "In this instance not only are we following through on the U.N. requirements, but we have ourselves submitted to the U.N. to include Jemaah Islamiyah as an organization linked to the al-Qaida network," explained Marty Natalegawa, the Foreign Ministry spokesman. He says that does not mean that Jakarta accepts charges from Washington and regional governments that Jemaah Islamiyah - or JI - is active in Indonesia.

"So we are simply pointing to the fact that this particular network which is apolitical, a-national, it has nothing to do with any nation, nothing to do with any state, is in fact a terrorist organization - that's what we've said and we will go after them," he said.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote on designating JI a terrorist organization in the next few days.

The move would require U.N. member states to freeze the group's assets, bar its members from moving across international borders, and ban it from obtaining supplies. Washington and other Southeast Asian governments say JI is active in Indonesia and may have been involved in the recent bombing in Bali. At least 180 people were killed and hundreds were injured in that October 12 attack. Suspicion has fallen on Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir. Many governments say he is a JI leader. Mr. Bashir is under arrest, but remains in a hospital in the central Java town of Solo. He was admitted to the hospital a week ago after complaining of respiratory problems.

Indonesian officials have not linked Mr. Bashir - or JI - to the Bali bombing. Instead, Mr. Bashir was arrested on suspicion of involvement in a series of bombings across Indonesia on Christmas Eve in 2000. Mr. Bashir has repeatedly denied having any links to terrorism, and he denied playing any part in the Bali bombing.