It is sad news that Ali Alatas had passed. He was Indonesia's diplomatic face to the world during some of the hardest of times. He was always not only diplomatic but graceful whilst on the world stage through his time as not only Indonesia's longest serving Foreign Minister, but also prior to that as Indonesia's point man at the United Nations in both Geneva and New York from 1976.
In many ways the Alatas career is shaped by the events of East Timor and the eventual split of the former Portuguese colony from the Republic of Indonesia. Nevertheless, it would be unfair to cast his legacy as merely one connected no matter how intimately to the events of the East Timor and Indonesia relationship.
Since his departure as the top diplomat in 1999 he went onto play a significant role in the "resolution" of the Aceh issue and most recently as Ambassador at large and Head of the Supreme Advisory Council.
Alatas (photo Afriadi Hikmal, Jakarta Globe) leaves behind a wife and three children.
The man will be sorely missed not only by his family but by many Indonesians who have benefited from his vast knowledge, not only of diplomacy but of world affairs.
Alatas had a heart attack and died Thursday morning in Singapore.
May he rest in peace!