Indonesia’s foreign policy has always aimed to be both independent and active, seeking to mediate conflicts and promote peace across the globe. As a nation with a history of diplomatic engagement in regional conflicts, Indonesia has played a significant role in mediating disputes in the South China Sea, the Moro conflict in the Philippines, and the Cambodian conflict. This independent and active stance sets the stage for President-Elect Prabowo Subianto’s efforts to end the Russo-Ukrainian War.

In a recent meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Singapore during the Shangri-La Dialogue, Prabowo was invited to a conference in Geneva on June 15, 2024, aimed at resolving the conflict. This paper will explore Prabowo’s potential proposals for peace, drawing from Indonesia’s past diplomatic efforts and recent initiatives by President Joko Widodo and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto. Ultimately, this paper will propose a multi-faceted conflict resolution strategy that could contribute to ending the war.

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Indonesia’s active foreign policy has seen it take on mediator roles in various regional conflicts. In the South China Sea, Indonesia has advocated for peaceful negotiations and adherence to international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Indonesia has organized dialogues and facilitated discussions between the conflicting parties, emphasizing the importance of maintaining regional stability and avoiding military confrontations. This approach has helped de-escalate tensions and promote a cooperative atmosphere among the claimant countries.

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In the Moro conflict in the Philippines, Indonesia played a critical role in facilitating peace talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Indonesia’s involvement, as part of the International Monitoring Team, was instrumental in building trust between the parties and ensuring compliance with ceasefire agreements. The peace agreement signed in 2014 was a significant milestone, bringing an end to decades of conflict and paving the way for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

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Additionally, Indonesia played a crucial role in the Cambodian conflict, helping to broker peace through its involvement in the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements. Indonesia’s diplomacy was key in bringing together various factions and international stakeholders to negotiate a comprehensive settlement, which ultimately led to the end of the conflict and the establishment of a democratic government in Cambodia.

In June 2022, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) visited both Russia and Ukraine to propose a peace initiative. Jokowi’s diplomatic efforts were driven by Indonesia’s commitment to global peace and its neutral stance in international conflicts. During his visits, Jokowi emphasized the importance of dialogue and diplomacy, offering Indonesia’s assistance in facilitating peace talks. He proposed a humanitarian corridor to ensure the safe passage of civilians and aid, highlighting Indonesia’s dedication to addressing the humanitarian crisis caused by the war.

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Jokowi’s proposal also included economic incentives for both countries to engage in peace talks. He suggested the establishment of a joint economic zone that could benefit both Russia and Ukraine, fostering economic cooperation and interdependence as a means to reduce hostilities. Jokowi’s proposal was a significant step in demonstrating Indonesia’s willingness to play a more active role in global conflict resolution and showcased the country’s pragmatic approach to diplomacy.

During the first Shangri-La Dialogue in 2022, then-Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto suggested a ceasefire and a demilitarized zone monitored by United Nations peacekeepers. He emphasized the need for a neutral party to oversee the ceasefire and ensure compliance from both sides. Prabowo’s proposal reflected Indonesia’s consistent approach to advocating for peace through dialogue and international cooperation. His call for a demilitarized zone and international oversight aimed to provide a stable foundation for further negotiations and conflict resolution.

Prabowo’s proposal also included measures to address the underlying causes of the conflict. He emphasized the importance of addressing socio-economic disparities and political grievances that have fueled the war. Prabowo proposed the establishment of development programs and infrastructure projects in conflict-affected areas to improve living conditions and promote economic growth. By addressing these root causes, Prabowo aimed to create a more sustainable and long-lasting peace.

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Building on Indonesia’s history of mediation and recent diplomatic efforts, President-Elect Prabowo’s proposal for ending the Russo-Ukrainian War could incorporate several key elements. Firstly, a comprehensive and immediate ceasefire agreement should be established to halt all military operations and create a stable environment for peace talks. This agreement must include mechanisms for monitoring and verifying compliance, with the involvement of neutral international observers to ensure impartiality.

Additionally, the establishment of a demilitarized zone along the conflict’s front lines is crucial. This zone, monitored by United Nations peacekeepers, would serve as a buffer to reduce the risk of accidental clashes and provide a secure area for negotiations. Alongside this, a humanitarian corridor should be created to allow the safe passage of civilians and the delivery of essential aid to affected areas, thereby reducing civilian casualties and suffering. This corridor should be overseen by international humanitarian organizations to ensure its effectiveness and impartiality.

International mediation will be vital in facilitating peace talks and negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. The appointment of a neutral international mediator or a group of mediators, including representatives from Indonesia, could help build trust and ensure that both parties feel fairly represented. These mediators should be acceptable to both sides and have the confidence of the international community.

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Organizing a peace conference in Geneva, as proposed by President Zelensky, would bring together all relevant stakeholders, including Russia, Ukraine, and international partners, to discuss and negotiate a long-term resolution to the conflict. This conference should focus on addressing the underlying causes of the conflict, such as territorial disputes, security concerns, and economic issues.

Moreover, fostering economic cooperation through the establishment of joint economic zones and development programs could promote cooperation and interdependence between Russia and Ukraine. These initiatives would aim to improve living conditions, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth in conflict-affected areas, thereby reducing the incentive for continued hostilities.

Finally, support for political reforms in both Russia and Ukraine is essential to address grievances and promote democratic governance. This could include measures to strengthen political institutions, enhance transparency and accountability, and protect human rights. By addressing these root causes and promoting sustainable development, Prabowo’s comprehensive approach to conflict resolution could pave the way for a lasting peace in the region.

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Indonesia’s independent and active foreign policy, exemplified by its mediation efforts in regional conflicts, provides a solid foundation for President-Elect Prabowo’s proposals to end the Russo-Ukrainian War. Drawing from the initiatives of President Jokowi and Defense Minister Prabowo, a comprehensive approach involving a ceasefire, demilitarized zone, humanitarian corridor, international mediation, peace conference, economic cooperation, and political reforms could pave the way for a lasting resolution. By leveraging its diplomatic experience and commitment to peace, Indonesia can play a crucial role in resolving one of the most significant conflicts of our time. Through continued engagement and collaboration with international partners, Indonesia can help create a pathway to peace and stability in the region.

The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post. 

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