Indonesian Government Issues Travel Advice on USA

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  • TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The Indonesian government has issued a travel advice to citizens warning them not to travel to USA unless it is for essential purposes. The travel advice was issued following a new US immigration regulation that obliges Indonesian citizens, along with citizens of several other countries whose citizens are mostly Muslims as well as those from North Korea, to register and report to the US authorities. Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nur Hassan Wirajuda made this announcement to reporters at the State Palace in Jakarta on Friday (17/01). This kind of decision by the US government is discriminative and one-sided, he said. Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri also stated her disappointment over the new US regulation to US Assistant Secretary of State for Asia Pacific James Kelly in a meeting held at the State Palace on Friday (17/01). Such regulation is obviously hard to be understood and accepted by Indonesia, said Wirajuda. Wirajuda added that some 40,000 Indonesian citizens in USA would be re-registered by the government. Apart from women and males under 16 years old, all Indonesians in the US are obliged to re-register and report to immigration offices between February 24 and March 28, 2003. The Indonesian Embassy in Washington DC has warned Indonesian citizens in the US to make themselves available during these dates. As for those who dont have complete immigration documents, the Embassy suggested they immediately return to Indonesia. Kelly told President Megawati in the meeting that the new regulation applied to for all countries but it would be implemented in stages until 2005. During the meeting, Kelly also discussed global matters with the president, including the situation as regards Iraq and North Korea as well as the war against terrorism. Kelly added that Indonesia is still considered an important partner by the US government, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. Regarding Iraq, the US government will announce its stance on January 28 after it receives a report from the UN inspection team. (Dede Ariwibowo-Tempo News Room)