(AFP) – Oct 7, 2009
JAKARTA — US President Barack Obama will visit Indonesia next year to "showcase the importance of growing US-Indonesia bilateral relations", the US embassy said Wednesday.
The embassy statement echoed comments from a spokesman for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who also said 2010 had been earmarked for Obama's trip to the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.
It said Yudhoyono met Obama on the margins of the Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh last month and they "agreed on the importance of having a visit that would showcase the importance of growing US-Indonesia bilateral relations.
"After reviewing the possibilities, they agreed that the best time for such a visit would be some time next year, at a date to be mutually determined."
The statement ends speculation that Obama would visit Jakarta in November when he attends his first summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in neighbouring Singapore.
Obama spent part of his childhood in the Indonesian capital Jakarta in the late 1960s, after his divorced mother married an Indonesian.
The childhood connection and his knowledge of a few words of the Indonesian language have made him hugely popular in the country of 234 million people, 90 percent of whom are Muslim.
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