Jakarta (ANTARA) - Israel’s participation in the 2023 U-20 World Cup is not related to Indonesia's foreign policy, which continues to support Palestine, according to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi). "Because our support for Palestine is always solid and firm," he stated in a video broadcast on the Presidential Secretariat's YouTube channel on Tuesday.
He said that the Indonesian government agrees with the Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia, Zuhair Al-Shun, regarding the implementation of the tournament, which is scheduled to take place from May 20 to June 11.
Jokowi stressed that FIFA--the international football governing body--has various regulations that must be followed by its members. "Thus, do not link sports issues with political affairs," he stated.
He began the broadcast by emphasizing that it has always been Indonesia's principle to consistently fight for the independence of the Palestinian people. Additionally, he added that Indonesia supports the realization of a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.
He stated that Indonesia's support for Palestine aligns with the Constitution, which opposes any colonial acts. "We always highlight this matter at bilateral, multilateral, and other international forums," he said.
Jokowi also highlighted that Indonesia won the right to host the World Cup in October 2019 after competing with Brazil and Peru through a long bidding process. He added that during that time, Indonesia was unsure of which countries would participate in the cup as all national teams were still in the pre-qualifying stage.
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The Indonesia President stated that it was only confirmed in July 2022 that the Israeli national team was eligible to play at the U-20 World Cup in 2023. FIFA is aware of the rejection of Israel's participation in the cup, and the Indonesian government and the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) will work together to find the best solution to this issue, he said. "Therefore, I have asked the general chairperson of PSSI, Erick Thohir, to meet with the FIFA’s team to seek the best solution," he added.