Jakarta Ready to Welcome Obama
Camelia Pasandaran, Ulma Haryanto & Dofa Fasila
Jakarta. After a long wait, US President Barack Obama will finally set foot again in Indonesia on Tuesday.
The whirlwind trip that would last less than 24 hours would be highlighted by the signing of the Comprehensive Partnership Agreement first discussed by the two heads of state last year.
“In the declaration of the comprehensive partnership tomorrow, there will be one vision of the future relationship of Indonesia and the United States,” said Dino Patti Djalal, Indonesian ambassador to the United States.
He said that in the past, relations between the two countries were not balanced and focused on one issue only — human rights.
“It should be multidimensional and multisectoral, covering a constructive and dynamic relationship in the fields of security, economy, education, society and culture, people to people contact, science and technology, environment, forestry and others.”
The places the US president is expected to visit are teeming with both Indonesian and American security officials. The walls of the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery have been repainted. Guests of Shangri-La Hotel, where he is expected to stay, have been advised of heightened security.
After Air Force One lands at Halim Perdanakusuma International airport this afternoon, Obama will be whisked to the Presidential Palace, where a bilateral meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono awaits him. This will be followed by a press conference and a ceremonial state dinner.
Julian Aldrin Pasha, a spokesman for Yudhoyono, said the palace was preparing nasi goreng and bakso for Obama, who spent four years of his childhood here.
Obama told Yudhoyono by phone in 2008 that he was eager to return to Indonesia for a visit and that he longed for a dish of Indonesian fried rice.
“[Obama] wants to enjoy bakso, rambutan and nasi goreng,” Yudhoyono later told reporters.
On Wednesday morning, Obama is scheduled to visit Istiqlal, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, and then head to the University of Indonesia in Depok, where he will deliver a much-anticipated speech believed to be addressed to the Muslim world.
Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation but is not an Islamic state.
Obama is then scheduled to visit the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery before heading to Halim Perdanakusuma airport to fly to Seoul for the G-20 meeting.
Sr. Comr. Royke Lumua, head of the Jakarta Police Traffic Directorate, said certain road sections where Obama is expected to pass would be blocked for “five to seven minutes.”
Places Obama will visit would also be closed to the public and 4,000 traffic police officers would secure and manage the traffic.
Though Royke said the US president is expected to take the Jakarta Outer Ring Road to Depok, a helicopter has been readied to take off near the National Monument (Monas) to take Obama straight to UI.
At least 2,000 protesters are expected to demonstrate on the streets, Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar said.
Two Days In Indonesia: Obama’s Schedule
Tuesday 4:30 p.m. Arrive at Halim Airport in Jakarta on Air Force One.
Proceed to Presidential Palace for official welcoming ceremony (traveling via Outer Ring Road, Semanggi exit, Jl. Jend. Sudirman and Jl. M.H. Thamrin).
Late Afternoon. Meet with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and several Indonesian ministers for bilateral talks. Press conference to follow in Presidential Palace garden.
8:30 p.m. State dinner, followed by transfer to Shangri-La Hotel.
Wednesday 8 a.m. Visit to Istiqlal Mosque for 30-60 minutes, then drive (via Semanggi and Outer Ring Road) to University of Indonesia for a 60-minute visit and speech.
Onward to Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta (via Outer Ring Road) for a brief visit.
Afternoon. Drive to Halim Airport and leave for Seoul for G-20 meeting.