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President Obama to visit Indonesia Nov. 9-10

HANOI, Vietnam, Oct. 31 — U.S. President Barack Obama will make a state visit to Indonesia on Nov. 9-10, special staff for foreign affairs Teuku Faizasyah said in a written statement received by Antara News here on Saturday.

"President Obama's visit to Indonesia will be part of his Asian tour and take place after he has been to India and before he comes to South Korea and Japan," he said.

He said the visit is aimed at widening and strengthening the two countries' bilateral relations.

President Obama mentioned his plan to visit Indonesia in his speech at a UN General Assembly session in New York in September 2010.

President Obama would on Nov. 9 be welcomed at the Merdeka Palace, after which there would be a bilateral meeting between the Indonesian and U.S. governments.

"The bilateral meeting will be the momentum for an exchange of views on various bilateral, regional and global issues. The Indonesian president will also host a state dinner for President Obama," he said.

On Nov. 10, President Obama would lay a wreath at the Kalibata National Heroes`Cemetary and visit the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta.

"President Obama also plans to address the Indonesian public in which he would speak on the Indonesia-US partnership, democracy, development, pluralism, tolerance and outreach to Muslim countries," he said.

Faizah said US-Indonesia relations had in the past five years strengthened significantly with the U.S. recognizing the democratization process in Indonesia was going well, there was a reform process, pluralism and respect for pluralism and the country`s success in the fight against terrorism.

The close relations between the two countries was also shown by the intensiveness of meetings between the two countries' officials, parliament members and private businesses.

President Obama had so far held meetings with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono twice, namely during the 17th APEC Summit in Singapore in November 2009 and on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Toronto in April 2010.

While in Indonesia, President Obama and President Yudhoyono would launch a comprehensive partnership based upon mutual respect and benefit.

The US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership was first raised by the Indonesian president in Washinton in November 2008.

"The US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership is an important step to strengthen and boost the bilateral relations and cooperation between Indonesia and the US in various fields. Right now, the two parties are refining the action plan," he said.

Trade and investment would be one of the issues to be given attention during President Obama's visit to Indonesia.

Trade between the two countries increased from US$ 15.2 billion in 2006 to US$ 16.4 billion in 2007 and US$ 20.9 billion in 2008.

The volume of trade between the two countries in 2009 reached US$ 17/93 billion. The drop of almost US$ 3 billion was due to among others the bad economic conditions in the world especially the US.

From January to July 2010 the value of trade between the two countries reached US$ 13.36 billion, up 38 percent compared to the same period last year at US$ 9.67 billion.

The realization of US investment in Indonesia rose reaching US$ 171.5 million in 2009 from US$ 151.3 million in 2008.

In the first quarter of 2010 the US was ranked third in the realization of foreign investment in the country, after Signapore and Mauritius.

More than 50 percent of US investment was concentrated in the oil and gas sector. (PNA/Antara) scs/rsm

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