Mounting pressures to finalize key health care reforms in the United States are delaying a visit to Indonesian by U.S. President Barack Obama by at least a few days.
Originally expected to visit Jakarta and Bali, March 20-22,2010, the President's departure has now been postponed until March 21st with an expected return to Washington on March 26, 2010. With visits also scheduled for Guam and Australia, a three day delay in Obama's trip may mean that the Indonesia visit will take place March 23-25, but this is speculation at this point with the final dates and stops yet to be announced by the White House.
Originally planned to coincide with U.S. school holidays the President planned to bring his wife and two daughters on the trip. However, the latest indications by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is that Mr. Obama will be traveling to the Asia Pacific without his family.
Mr. Obama's visit to Indonesia, a country with the world's largest Moslem population, will come on the heals of a massive police crackdown on terrorist cells that has in recent weeks resulted in the arrest of 31 and the death of 8 suspected terrorists. Among the dead is 40 year-old Dulmatin, a man sought for international terrorism and his key role in the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people. The U.S. State Department had placed a US$10 million price on Dulmatin's head.
The Presidential visit to Indonesia originally called for stops in Jakarta and Bali. It is unclear if the delayed schedule will now also result in a change of cities to be visited by the official U.S. entourage.
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