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US Apologizes After Indonesian General Denied Entry

  • VOA News

(L-R) Indonesia Military Chief Gatot Nurmantyo, Indonesia President Joko Widodo, and Indonesia Police Chief Tito Karnavian stand on a military amphibious vehicle Anoa 2 while crossing a lake at a military headquarters in Jakarta, Jan. 16, 2017.

A U.S. diplomat said Monday "there are absolutely no issues" with the Indonesian military chief's ability to travel to the United States, after he had been refused entry to attend a conference in Washington.

Indonesian Armed Forces Commander General Gatot Nurmantyo was preparing to board a 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.

U.S. Deputy Ambassador to Indonesia Erin McKee apologized for the situation Monday and said after meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi that 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 that Jakarta's response to the incident would depend on Washington's explanation.

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