Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi recently told her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov that Israel should not justify murdering civilians in Gaza as "self-defense".
Retno visited Russia on Tuesday alongside other ministers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The diplomats held talks with Russia's Lavrov on ending the war in Gaza.
As civilian casualties continue to climb in Gaza – coupled with the recent Israeli attack on the Indonesian hospital in the war-torn enclave – Indonesia reiterated its position that Israel had no right to use self-defense as an excuse for its atrocities.
"I told the meeting that Israel's claims that what it is doing is self-defense is completely unacceptable. Colonizers like Israel cannot use that excuse," Retno said in a recorded video statement from London, commenting on her recent talks with Lavrov.
"We cannot use 'self-defense' as a license to kill civilians and attack humanitarian facilities," Retno said.
According to Retno, Russia and the OIC meeting also discussed making "strategic steps" towards a two-state solution that envisions Israel and Palestine as two independent states. There are also plans to hold an international conference on the Gaza situation. Retno added: "Russia agreed to the points on the recently adopted OIC-Arab League resolution."
The OIC representatives are currently touring UN Security Council permanent member countries, with Russia being the second stop after China. Retno is currently in London to have similar talks with the UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron. They will then head to Paris for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.
The UN Security Council has 5 permanent members, and 10 non-permanent members elected on two-year terms. The US, UK, China, Russia, and France are the council's permanent members. Retno, however, did not mention any plans for the OIC to visit the US in her press statement.
Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Vorobieva said that the talks between Lavrov and the OIC delegation were held behind closed doors.
"But based on the foreign ministry's comments, it was a very productive one," Vorobieva told reporters in Jakarta on Wednesday.
"We appreciate the recent [OIC-Arab League] joint summit in Riyadh that has stated the necessity of a ceasefire and provide humanitarian aid. Russia shares the same position. We are ready to closely cooperate with our Arab and Islamic partners as well as other like-minded countries," Vorobieva said.
The Russian envoy added that her president Vladimir Putin had also been clear that "the only solution" to the Gaza conflict is the two-state solution.
Retno's Saudi, Jordanian, Egyptian, and Palestinian counterparts – as well as OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha – were also present during the talks with Lavrov. The Russia trip was a follow-up to what the recent joint OIC-Arab League Summit had agreed on, namely mandating a delegation of foreign ministers to pursue an international action to end the Gaza war.