Indonesia willing to send peacekeepers to Iraq

Mostly Muslim country says it could encourage other Muslim states to do the same.

indonesian troops 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
indonesian troops 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Indonesia's foreign minister said Wednesday that his country would be willing to send peacekeepers to Iraq and could encourage other Muslim countries to do the same. Indonesia, which has more Muslims than any other country, has previously rejected the possibility of sending troops to Iraq. The previous discussions centered on an international peacekeeping force separate from the US-led occupation. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told US President George W. Bush, who visited Indonesia this week, that any long-term solution to the turmoil in Iraq should include more countries than are currently involved. Asked if that could mean sending Indonesian troops as part of a future peacekeeping mission, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said, "If we have that opportunity, why not?" Indonesia, with some 190 million Muslims, also would be willing to try to convince other Muslim nations to follow suit, he said. He added that he had raised the issue with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Vietnam last week. The Bush administration has said in the past it was eager to enlist Muslim countries to relieve the burden on US troops, and to provide an element of Muslim approval to the fight against insurgents in Iraq.