Jakarta, Nov 15 (EFE).- Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto said Wednesday he condemned the attacks on civilians in Gaza and urged it to stop, adding that his country has offered to send a hospital ship to the area.
Prabowo, who leads the polls as a presidential candidate for February’s elections in Indonesia, urged that a ceasefire be reached and that “the flow of humanitarian aid be expanded and accelerated” in Gaza, in his opening speech at the defense ministers meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta.
“In addition, Indonesia remains committed to providing aid to Gaza (…) and has proposed the deployment of a hospital ship to provide medical treatment to the victims, in addition to extending the offer for them to be treated in one of our hospitals in Indonesia,” he added.
Indonesia, a Muslim-majority Southeast Asian country, traditionally maintains a position aligned with Palestine, along with neighboring Malaysia, and has been behind a hospital in Gaza since 2011 that was accused by Israel of being used by Hamas as a cover for underground tunnels.
Indonesia’s Medical Emergency and Rescue Committee, responsible for its construction, denied this last week, calling the accusations “false and unfounded.”
According to Indonesian media, Prabowo is coordinating the plan to send a hospital ship to Palestine with the Egyptian ambassador in Jakarta, among others.
“We recognize our moral obligation to assist in this way and call on all nations to take similar measures to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people,” he added.
His statements come as United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to participate in ASEAN meetings Thursday, along with an envoy from China, which has not yet named a replacement for its Defense Minister Li Shangfu, dismissed in late October.
The intervention of Prabowo, who according to polls is being considered as a possible replacement for President Widodo – his opponent in the last two elections – comes as the Indonesian leader is in the US to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
Widodo met Monday at the White House with US President Joe Biden, whom he asked to do “more” to stop the “atrocities” in the Gaza Strip and achieve a ceasefire.
Biden, in turn, said he would explore the role Indonesia can play in the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinian enclaves in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank after the Hamas attack on Oct. 7. EFE