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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2732

Indonesia’s democracy and fighting terrorism Lauded by US Secretary of State Rice on eve of Bush visit

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 17 November (Asiantribune.com): As President George W. Bush is scheduled to meet with his Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Bogor, Indonesia on November 20, his secretary of state Condoleezza Rice says that the U.S. president’s trip will be a chance to discuss bilateral military ties while lauding Indonesia has been a good partner in the struggle against terrorism.

She said Indonesia has demonstrated democracy in action even as it fights terrorists on far-flung archipelagoes.

Bush is in Asia now to attend the Asia –Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting scheduled for 19 and 19 in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi. He visited Singapore yesterday.

His visit to Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation of 240 million, is considered the most vital contact the United States currently has with a Muslim nation outside the rebellious Middle-East which has become a diplomatic disaster to the U.S. In the aftermath of the December 2004 deadly tsunami that severely hit Indonesia, the United States took extra interest in rushing to emergency aid and committing long-term rehabilitation efforts of the Indonesian regime. It supported the political settlement between the Indonesian government and the Aceh separatist rebels in 2005.

President Bush’s trip to Indonesia – his second – will be an opportunity to emphasize U.S. cooperation with nations that have large Muslim populations, the Secretary of State said in an interview with Indonesia’s Metro Today.

Currently the U.S. Congress is considering a foreign spending bill for fiscal year that began October 1 that would provide US $5 million in military aid and US $70 million in economic assistance to Indonesia.

The United States has "an excellent relationship" with Indonesian President Yudhoyono and his government, the Secretary said. "We are very pleased with our relationship on the war on terror."

Although the Bush administration has made "difficult decisions" in the war on terror that have not been popular in some Muslim-majority countries, the United States has "enormous respect" for the Islamic faith, Rice said.

"We share Muslim values because they’re part of our own," the secretary said.

Americans care about their families, and they are people of faith, Rice said. Indonesia, she said, is another example of "a multi-ethnic, multi-religious state, where people live in peace and harmony and in a democracy."

- Asian Tribune -

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