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U.S. Department of State

Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 20, 2003

Deputy Secretary's Meeting with Indonesian Delegation

Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage met today with a ten-person visiting delegation from Indonesia led by Ambassador Arizal Effendi, Director General for America and Europe in Indonesia's Department of Foreign Affairs, and including Indonesia's Ambassador to the United States, Soemadi Brotodiningrat.

The Deputy Secretary assured the delegation today that the United States Government understands Jakarta's concerns about the burden that the National Security Entry Exit Registration System places on Indonesian nationals residing in the United States. The Indonesian delegation made a strong presentation on the impact of the domestic registration program and its requirement that visiting citizens of Indonesia and 24 other countries register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service within a prescribed time period.

The Deputy Secretary told the delegation that the United States values good relations with Indonesia, a strong partner in the global war on terrorism. He explained that the Registration System is only one component of our efforts to implement a system to track visitors from all countries. He also explained efforts to ensure that the Registration System does not imposes undue difficulties for foreign visitors, including the recent U.S. decisions to extend the registration deadline by a month for Indonesian nationals and to allow consular access to the registrants prior to their interviews with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Deputy Secretary assured the delegation that the U.S. Government continues to examine other means of addressing concerns about the System, and that any residents found out-of-status under the Registration System will not be deported without completion of the usual legal processes.

The Deputy Secretary saluted Indonesia's strong cooperation on counterterrorism issues. He congratulated Inspector General I Made Pastika, a member of the delegation and the chief investigator into the October 12, 2002 Bali terrorist bombings, for the outstanding progress of the Indonesian police in apprehending the perpetrators. The Deputy Secretary expressed our expectation that continued progress would also be made in the investigation of the August 31, 2002 killings of two American citizens in Timika, located in Indonesia's Papua province.

The two sides also exchanged views on the situation concerning Iraq.


Released on February 20, 2003

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