Obama to go ahead with trip despite volcano, Indonesian aide says
US President Barack Obama was due to arrive Tuesday for a 24-hour visit to Indonesia, his childhood home and the world's most populous Muslim nation, despite an erupting volcano, an aide to the Indonesian president said, DPA reported.
Volcanic ash from Mount Merapi prompted international airlines to cancel flights to and from Jakarta, but Teuku Faizasyah stressed Monday that there was no indication Obama would cancel his trip to Jakarta.
"Until now, we have not heard of a cancellation of President Obama's planned visit to Indonesia," Faizasyah, an adviser on foreign affairs, was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency.
Obama is to hold talks with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono; witness the signing of a cooperation treaty between the two countries; visit Jakarta's biggest mosque, Istiqlal; and give a lecture at the University of Indonesia.
Because of the short visit, Obama would not meet with old friends or visit the Besuski 01 school in Menteng in central Jakarta, which he attended during his four-year stay in the country, according to Djoko Suyanto, security and legal affairs minister.
Obama lived in central Jakarta from 1967 to 1971 between the ages of 6 and 10 after his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, married an Indonesian, Lolo Soetoro.
A national police spokesman last week said more than 8,000 police officers would be deployed to provide security for the visit.
Ahead of Obama's arrival, some university students and Muslim organizations held an anti-US rally to oppose his visit.
Obama postponed two previous trips to Indonesia this year because of domestic political reasons.