Indonesia assures security of G-15 summit leaders

JAKARTA, Indonesia, AP

Indonesia guaranteed the safety of leaders and top officials from 19 countries gathering Tuesday for a long-planned summit against a backdrop of political violence and upheaval that could unseat President Abdurrahman Wahid.

The security pledges came as the number of leaders from Africa, Asia and Latin America coming for the 11th summit of the Group of 15 developing countries dwindled to a handful.

The embattled Wahid will host the summit through Thursday while Parliament votes to press forward to impeach him for incompetence and corruption, threatening the third change of leadership in this Southeast Asian country since long-time dictator Suharto was deposed in 1998.

The maneuverings against Wahid triggered fresh violence and protests by his supporters Tuesday.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, cited by the Malaysian national news agency Bernama, said that Indonesian officials have promised Wahid will not declare a state of emergency — a threat he made a few days ago — while the summit is in progress.

“That’s the undertaking and assurance given by Indonesia,” Syed Hamid was quoted as saying by Bernama.”We feel at this time there are no indications the summit will be affected.”

Wahid has refused to cancel the summit, even though most member countries have backpedaled on sending top leaders. Many are sending vice presidents or other officials. None has given Indonesia’s turmoil as a reason.