Susilo impeachment rumours nonsense, says aide

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 June, 2007, 12:00am

An aide to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has dismissed rumours that parliamentary questioning about the government's support for United Nations sanctions against Iran will lead to impeachment proceedings.

Spokesman Dino Pati Djalal called the speculation nonsense.

'The president could be impeached for corruption or for a crime but not for a contested political decision,' Dr Dino said, referring to a risk voiced by some analysts.

'The decision is coherent with Indonesia's national interest and has strengthened our foreign policy.'

During questioning in parliament yesterday, Dr Susilo was represented by a team led by Co-ordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Widodo Adi Sucipto. The president's absence was criticised by several legislators.

Dr Dino said Mr Widodo reiterated Indonesia's position that Iran had the right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful means but should be more transparent.

'We supported the resolution because there are signs that the International Atomic Energy Agency has not been allowed to fully verify the Iranian programme,' he added.

On March 24, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Indonesia supported the latest resolution calling for tougher sanctions against Iran.

The move surprised most analysts, who thought Indonesia would abstain. It also angered Islamic-leaning politicians.

The proposal to question the president was supported by seven major factions in parliament, including the Golkar party and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.

The 280 signatories of the motion say endorsement of the UN resolution contradicts national interests, the spirit of solidarity among Muslim nations and the constitution, which calls on Indonesia to be neutral.

Soon after the UN resolution, Iranian ambassador to Indonesia Behrooz Kamalvandi said although his government was disappointed, ties would not be affected due to the mutual benefits of the relationship.