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Indonesian General Chooses Not to Travel to US


Indonesian military Chief Gatot Nurmantyo talks to reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 5, 2017.

Indonesia's military chief has decided not to travel to the United States, though the initial issue preventing him from traveling was resolved.

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

The United States said the issue was quickly resolved and the general was booked on another flight.

Department of Homeland Security press secretary Dave Lapan said Monday, "The passenger was rebooked on another flight and cleared to board. He chose not to travel."

U.S. Deputy Ambassador to Indonesia Erin McKee apologized for the situation Monday and said after meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi the matter had been resolved.

"General Gatot is able to travel. There are no restrictions," McKee said. "The embassy is working very hard to understand what transpired around this incident, and we hope that it will not happen again."

Marsudi said U.S. Ambassador Joseph Donovan also conveyed "regret and apology" when the two spoke, but that simply having travel restrictions against the general removed is not enough.

"We still need more clarification why the incident happened," Marsudi said.

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

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

National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin and VOA's Indonesian Service contributed to this report.

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