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Outgoing Indonesian leader cautions world of 'new Cold War'

Just weeks before he steps down from office, outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has warned that the world is now in a dangerous downward trend.

NUSA DUA: Just weeks before he steps down from office, outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has warned that the world is now in a dangerous downward trend.

With rivalries in Asia, and conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, Dr Yudhoyono urged on Friday (Aug 29) participants of the UN Alliance of Civilisation forum in Bali to prevent another Cold War era. He cited the South China Sea conflict, Ukraine crisis, as well as armed conflicts in the Middle East as events causing a turbulent geopolitical shift.

"Some say that this is all heading towards a ‘new Cold War’. Whatever it is, to me it already feels like "hot peace" and it will not get cool on its own. This is where the international community and the UNAOC can play a critical role to help remedy this worrying situation," said Dr Yudhoyono.

He added that growing radicalism will lead to more terrorism and warned of the real threat the wealthy terrorist group Islamic State poses to the world - comments echoed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "We meet at a time when extremism poses a grave threat. Promoting tolerance as well as inter-religious and cross-cultural dialogue has never been more important," said Ban.

It is a lesson the president has learned first-hand over a decade as leader. President Yudhoyono pointed out Indonesia's own struggles to reconcile differences and end conflict in several violence-stricken regions, notably Timor Leste. And his recipe to reconciliation is good leadership, commitment and a willingness to forgive and compromise.  

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