x

Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Indonesian army chief prevented from travelling to US

Jakarta to seek explanation from Washington after Gen Gatot Nurmantyo was stopped from boarding flight

Indonesian armed forces chief General Gatot Nurmantyo at his swearing-in ceremony at the presidential palace in Jakarta on July 8, 2015. Achmad Ibrahim / AP Photo
Indonesian armed forces chief General Gatot Nurmantyo at his swearing-in ceremony at the presidential palace in Jakarta on July 8, 2015. Achmad Ibrahim / AP Photo

Indonesia is seeking an explanation from Washington after the head of its armed forces was prevented from travelling to the United States.

General Gatot Nurmantyo was about to board a flight on Saturday when the airline informed him that US authorities had denied him entry, according to Indonesian media reports.

Gen Nurmantyo was going to the US at the invitation of Gen Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and a former head of the US Marine Corps, according to the reports. He was also due to take part in a forum organised by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Monday.

Arrmanatha Nasir, a spokesman for Indonesia's foreign affairs ministry, said Gen Nurmantyo had informed the ministry of the entry denial.

"After receiving that information, our foreign affairs minister has asked our ambassador in Washington DC to send a diplomatic note to the US secretary of state to ask for clarification," he said.

The ministry will also summon the US deputy ambassador in Jakarta on Monday to seek explanation, Mr Nasir said, adding that the ambassador was presently not in Indonesia.

The US embassy in Jakarta did not immediately respond to questions about the incident.

Gen Nurmantyo has frequently courted controversy in Indonesia because of his actions and what analysts perceive as his political ambitions. The general promotes the notion that Indonesia is besieged by "proxy wars" involving foreign states, and even a renewed communist threat.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo said this month that the armed forces should stay out of politics and ensure their loyalty is only to the state and the government.

Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority country, generally enjoys good ties with the United States although relations between their armed forces have been strained by alleged rights abuses involving the Indonesian military.

RELATED ARTICLES
Recommended