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Indonesian president: No normalization with Israel until Palestinians have state

Amid reports that Jakarta is mulling forging diplomatic ties with Jewish state, Joko Widodo tells Abbas in phone call that nation remains committed to two-state solution first

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (R) shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (L) during the closing of the 5th Extraordinary Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit on the Palestinian territories on March 7, 2016 in Jakarta. (Garry Lotulung/Pool/AFP)
File: Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (R) shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (L) during the closing of the 5th Extraordinary Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit on the Palestinian territories on March 7, 2016 in Jakarta. (Garry Lotulung/Pool/AFP)

Indonesian President Joko Widodo assured Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday that Jakarta would not join the trend of Arab and Muslim countries normalizing with Israel until after a Palestinian state has been established.

“Despite the rapid changes in the Middle East, Indonesia will not take any steps to normalize with Israel until a permanent and comprehensive peace is achieved between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” Widodo told Abbas in a phone call, according to a readout published by the PA’s official Wafa news agency.

Widodo went on to express his devotion to the Palestinian cause, his rejection of the recent normalization agreements reached between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, and his commitment to a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Wafa reported.

Abbas thanked the Indonesian president for his support and updated Widodo on the latest developments relating to Ramallah’s efforts at achieving statehood, according to the report.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has never had formal diplomatic ties with Israel and has been a longtime supporter of Palestinian aspirations for statehood.

Israeli officials have in the past spoken of clandestine links and called for the establishment of formal ties, but have been rebuffed by the Indonesian government.

According to an unsourced Friday Channel 13 report, Indonesia was on a shortlist of Muslim countries in Asia that are eager to normalize with Israel. Thursday’s call was an apparent attempt at dispelling such reports.

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