Subject: Rice to Visit Indonesia Second Week of January [+PacNet]

The Jakarta Post Thursday, December 29, 2005

Rice to Visit Indonesia

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit Jakarta in the second week of January, an Indonesian government official confirmed on Wednesday.

Rice's itinerary in Indonesia, however, has yet to be confirmed, said the official, who refused to be named because he was not authorized to announce the visit.

Rice's visit will likely give further momentum to U.S.-Indonesia relations. In her speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank on Dec. 14, she said that Indonesia had set an example of how Islam and democracy could coexist.

"One of the things that they have said is that they want to be a voice for moderate forms of Islam that understand that democracy ... and Islam are by no means enemies of one another and that people of all ethnic groups and all heritages and religious heritages can live together," Rice was quoted as saying by AP in Washington. "And so we need to support this government, and we're trying to do that."

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is a graduate of the U.S.'s International Military Education Program, was seen as a favorable figure by the U.S. government. Rice was quoted by AP as saying that a world leader who has been trained or educated in the U.S. tends to be more open-minded about America and "less given to the kind of caricatures and stereotypes about the United States".

In a recent hearing on Indonesia at the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Rice's deputy assistant for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Eric G. John said that the U.S. wanted to "help Indonesia succeed as a modern, democratic power, one that acts as a positive force on the global stage and ensures prosperity for its people at home".

John proposes the areas in which the U.S. could work out to achieve the goals. This includes the continuing U.S. assistance for tsunami reconstruction, education, the justice sector and for the police and an exchange of contacts between congressional/parliamentary delegations, senior officials and student exchanges.

The deputy secretary of state also told the Sept. 15 briefing that the U.S. should support Susilo's reformist program and further development of democracy, respect for human rights and press freedom in Indonesia and support military reform through constructive engagement. Finally, John said the U.S. should bolster Indonesia as a ASEAN leader, and as stable democracy.


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