Published: Mon, October 23, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Jakarta seeks answers as army chief denied entry to US

Jakarta seeks answers as army chief denied entry to US

Yesterday, Indonesian military spokesman Wuryanto said the Emirates airline had told Nurmantyo the US Customs and Border Protection agency would not allow him to enter US territory.

"We have told them that we still demand a clarification and explanation on why the incident happened, we told them we are still waiting", she said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told Anadolu Agency that the Indonesian embassy in the US has sent diplomatic notes to the State Department for clarification.

Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, the commander of Indonesian National Armed Forces, was denied entry to the United States despite having an invitation to visit the country from Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., media reported.

The US embassy in Jakarta has apologised and assured the Indonesian government that General Gatot Nurmantyo is now welcome, but did not say why he had been denied entry in the first place.

U.S. Ambassador Joseph Donovan has apologized to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi for any inconvenience to General Gatot. "We still need an explanation why it happened".

The general has visited USA on several occasions.

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During the meeting with the foreign minister, the United States reaffirmed the importance of its strategic relations with Indonesia.

She added that the embassy is "working hard to understand what transpired around this incident", but did not offer any further explanation.

Indonesia's military chief is free to travel to the United States, the USA embassy said Monday, after the general was apparently stopped as he tried to board a flight.

Nurmantyo has frequently courted controversy in Indonesia over what analysts perceive to be his political ambitions. The general promotes the notion that Indonesia is besieged by "proxy wars" involving foreign states and even a renewed communist threat.

Indonesia's military has a checkered human rights record, but Nurmantyo himself has not been accused of rights abuses.

This month, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the armed forces should stay out of politics and ensure their loyalty was only to the state and the government - a statement many believed referred to Nurmantyo's actions.

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