Danish Embassy Did Not Distribute New Apology

A possible misunderstanding between Maksuni, the leader of the demonstration at the Danish Embassy in Jakarta on Friday, and Niels Erik Andersen, the Danish Ambassador to Indonesia, may lead to renewed discontent in the conflict over twelve cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, which a Danish newspaper published last September.
Maksuni told local media on Friday, that the demonstration was called off because the Ambassador had promised him to issue an apology. His words were later carried forward by international media world wide.
But the Danish Ambassador denies ever having promised such an apology.
“I definitely did not promise him that,” the Danish Ambassador in Indonesia, Niels Erik Andersen said.
“I very precisely referred to the apology Jyllands-Posten made and the speech of the Danish Prime Minister.”
“Clearly I cannot make an apology as an ambassador, when it is against the line Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has put down,” he adds.
The ambassador says he is uncertain as to how things will develop and whether to expect an escalation of the situation if he was really misunderstood by the leader of the demonstrators.
“If that is the case, I have no idea what will happen,” he says, adding, “I have only been ambassador here for five months and anything I say would be merely speculation.”
The ambassador is at a loss as to how the story about him apologising got out. He does not know whether the leader of the demonstrators, Maksuni, has been misquoted, or if the two of them simply misunderstood each other – although he tends to rule out the last explanation.
“We had several embassy employees present at the meeting, and none of them think there was room for any interpretation of the meeting that way,” the ambassador says.
As far as the Ambassador recalls, this is what happened today:
“This morning we had a demonstration with 300 people from Islamic Defender’s Front (FPI). During the demonstration a group tried to enter the building, and 10 to 15 of them succeeded, but they only got to the ground floor (the embassy is on the 25th). After this, the situation started to heat up and people began to throw rotten eggs at the building. At the same time someone tore down the Danish flag and burned it.”
“The leader of the group demanded to meet with me, and I agreed to this,” the ambassador continued.
“The leader expressed his discontent with the drawings, and I told him about the apology issued by Jyllands-Posten and of the speech of the Danish Prime Minister. We talked for around 30 minutes…actually it was exactly 30 minutes,” Niels Erik Andersen remembers.
“The meeting ended with the three demonstrators giving me advice to get the apology from Jyllands-Posten out in all of Indonesia,” the ambassador said, summing up the conclusion of the meeting.
Shortly after the meeting the demonstrators dispersed and since then employees at the embassy have been busy. Friday afternoon they had finished sending out Jyllands-Posten’s apology to 15 Indonesian newspapers, two English-language newspapers, five private TV-stations and one government owned TV station.

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