No Plan to Delay Obama's 'Important' Indonesia Visit, Says White House

While Obama is expected to bring his family to Indonesia,
his trip will include a conference on promoting democracy,
the White House said

President Barack Obama's trip next week to his childhood home of Indonesia will be no vacation and is unlikely to be delayed by his health reform drive, the White House said Thursday. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama, who is expected to leave the United States next Thursday, would attend a democracy promotion conference and highlight counter-terrorism measures during the visit to Indonesia. Obama will also seek to use his stay in the world's most populous Muslim nation to build off a speech he gave last year to the Islamic world from Cairo urging for improved ties with the United States, Gibbs said. Asked whether the family journey to Indonesia, where Obama spent four years as a boy, and Australia, was intended as an educational trip or a vacation for his daughters Malia and Sasha, Gibbs answered "not at all." Gibbs also said there were no current plans to delay the trip, should lawmakers fail to satisfy the White House's hopes for a crucial House of Representatives vote on the health care bill by March 18. "The president believes it is an extremely important trip, it's an important region of the world, and these are important partners," Gibbs said. "Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, obviously has seen, as many countries including ours have seen, the impacts of horrific terrorist activities. "Australia is a country we enjoy a trade surplus with, something the president is anxious to highlight, as well as a strong supporter of ours in providing support for Afghanistan." Obama, who lived in Jakarta with his late mother Ann Dunham in the 1960s, said last year in Singapore that he was looking forward to visiting his old haunts in Indonesia. He was invited to make the trip by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and both sides have said they plan to use Obama's childhood ties to the country to further tighten a crucial pan-Pacific relationship.

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