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Powell Meets With Indonesian Counterpart at APEC - 2001-10-19

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell met with his Indonesian counterpart Friday on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Shanghai to talk about the anti-terrorism coalition.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda told reporters after his meeting with Secretary Powell that his government is still concerned strikes against targets in Afghanistan will cause civilian casualties and a humanitarian catastrophe.

The Indonesian diplomat said his government prefers a collective international response to terrorism through the United Nations.

Indonesia, with the world's largest Muslim population, is sensitive to attacks against another Muslim nation. Muslim extremists there have threatened to attack Americans in retaliation for the military strikes in Afghanistan. Anti-American demonstrations have become common.

Earlier in the week, Indonesia's President Megawati Sukarnoputri gave her country's support for the war on terrorism. Then under pressure from some Islamic groups at home, she criticized the use of military force to combat terrorism.

U.S. officials say Secretary Powell stressed to Indonesia's foreign minister the seriousness of the situation and the need for the United States to defend itself against terrorism.

U.S. officials say Indonesia's overall response to the global anti-terrorism campaign has been excellent.

Indonesia and its APEC colleagues have put together a counter-terrorism declaration that will be issued at the end of the two-day summit this weekend.