No Delay to Obama's Indonesia Trip but Dates Not Confirmed: Govt

Apresidential spokesman on Monday denied that there would be a delay to US President Barack Obama’s visit to the country, expected later this month, although the exact dates are still not confirmed. “There is no delay regarding Obama’s visit to Indonesia,” Dino Patti Djalal said. Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar announced last month that Obama and his family were expected to be in the country from March 20-22. However Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah said on Friday that there were no official dates for the visit yet. There has been speculation that the trip might be delayed as Obama strives to pass his landmark health care bill. But US media reported that the White House had given Congress until March 18 to pass the bill because of Obama’s planned overseas trip. US Embassy spokesman Paul Belmont told the Jakarta Globe on Monday that he could not confirm or deny the speculation. “We have no confirmation of dates or anything on cancellation. Just be patient,” he said. There has also been speculation that security fears could cause a delay, or cancellation, as police are battling a new terrorist group in Aceh and conservative Muslim groups have pledged demonstrations during the visit. But Ansyaad Mbai, the head of the antiterrorism desk at the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, was quoted on Monday as saying that the raids against militants in Aceh would not affect Obama’s visit. Teuku said that while Indonesia waited for official confirmation of the dates from the White House, preparations were ongoing. “We are expecting the official announcement this week,” he said. Obama is now expected to visit Bali, instead of Yogyakarta as originally planned. Bali Police spokesman Gde Sugianyar Dwi Putra said they were ready to deploy 12,000 personnel during the visit and that Obama’s security team has visited the island. Heru Legowo, general manager of PT Angkasa Pura I, which manages the Ngurah Rai airport in Bali, said the airport would be closed temporarily to commercial flights to allow Obama’s Air Force One plane to land. He also claimed to have received notification that three F-16 jet fighters would land in Bali on March 18 to secure the airspace ahead of Air Force One’s arrival.

Recommended Posts :