President told me to not visit US: Military chief

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Defense Forces Commander General Gatot Nurmantyo clarified that President Joko Widodo had told him to not travel to the US after being denied entry upon his departure at Jakartas Soekarno-Hatta Airport on Oct 21.

"When I came to know that I could not depart, I reported it to the president, and he said well, just do not go," Nurmantyo noted at the State Palace here on Tuesday.

The military chief emphasized that he will undertake an official visit to the US based on the presidents directive.

"After reporting the matter to the president, coordinating minister for politics, law, and security, and minister of foreign affairs, I may not give any comments, so go and pose your questions to the minister of foreign affairs," he remarked.

In connection with his plan to again travel to the US, Nurmantyo said he will merely follow President Widodos directive and did not yet have any initiative.

However, Nurmantyo is disappointed with the incident that had occurred, as he had received an official invitation from US Commander General Joseph F. Durford Jr, who is also his good friend, to attend the Chiefs of Defense Conference on Country Violent Extremist Organization to be held from Monday (Oct 23) to Tuesday (Oct 24) in Washington D.C.

Moreover, prior to the incident at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport, he had visited the US without facing any problems and had the opportunity to attend a coffee morning session and a dinner reception at General Dunfords residence.

"Well, I wanted to go there to meet him as well," he said.

Earlier on Monday, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi had summoned US Deputy Ambassador to Indonesia Erin Elizabeth Mckee following a report that the Indonesian National Army Commander General Nurmantyo was denied entry into the US territory.

Marsudi said that the US envoy was called for highlighting the importance of maintaining sound relations between Indonesia and the US.

Secondly, the US embassy confirmed that Nurmantyo had planned the visit upon receiving an invitation from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dunford.

"Thirdly, they regretted and apologized for the inconvenience caused. They also stated that the restrictions had been revoked," Marsudi stated, adding that Nurmantyo was allowed to continue his visit to the US.

Source: ANTARA News

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