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Indonesia Seeks Answers as General Denied Entry to US


FILE - Indonesia President Joko Widodo, center, talks with Indonesian Army Chief of Staff Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, during inspection of aids for Rohingya before its departure at Halim Perdanakusuma air base in Jakarta, Sept. 13, 2017.

Indonesia is seeking clarification on why its military chief was denied entry to the United States, Jakarta said Sunday.

Washington's deputy ambassador to Jakarta was summoned to explain the situation, Indonesian officials said.

"[The] Foreign Minister has talked to the U.S. ambassador in Jakarta today, asking for immediate clarification," Indonesia Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told VOA Sunday. "And since the U.S. ambassador is not in Jakarta, the U.S. Deputy Ambassador will be summoned to the Foreign Ministry tomorrow to clarify this issue."

Indonesian Armed Forces Commander General Gatot Nurmantyo was preparing to board his flight to the U.S. with his wife on Saturday when the airline informed him that U.S. Customs and Border Protection had denied him entry.

Nurmantyo had been invited to a conference in Washington on extremist organizations by U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford.

A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta simply said that the General "was unable to travel as planned", but stated its commitment to resolving the issue and that the U.S. ambassador had apologized to Nurmantyo.

"The U.S. Embassy was, and remains, prepared to facilitate the General’s travel to the United States," the statement read.

Relations between the United States and Indonesia are generally friendly. Indonesia's Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said that Jakarta's response to the incident would depend on Washington's explanation.