The Jakarta Post
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said Indonesian Military commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo chose not to fly to the US although the country’s authorities had booked a new flight for him on Saturday after he was denied boarding on his initial flight.
Citing a DHS spokesman, CNN reported Tuesday that the US Embassy in Jakarta informed Gatot that he might be “delayed in his ability to board his flight” because of security protocols.
“The passenger was rebooked on another flight and cleared to board. He chose not to travel,” the spokesman said.
Gatot, his wife and his entourage were due to travel to Washington on Saturday to attend a counter-terrorism conference. He has a valid visa and an invitation by Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.
However, in the last minutes prior to boarding his flight, he was approached by an airline official informing him that he and his wife were not allowed to enter the US by order of US Customs and Border Protection, military spokesman Major Gen. Wuryanto previously said.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry summoned a US embassy official on Monday to clarify the matter but the official did not provide an explanation, suggesting that the embassy was equally clueless about what had happened.
The US embassy issued an official apology to Gatot for the “inconvenience,” but Retno said the ministry was still awaiting a detailed explanation of why the incident happened.
Following the incident, reactions in Jakarta have already been stirred with some banners found at a major thoroughfare calling for the expulsion of the US ambassador from Indonesia.
Analysts have warned that leaving the issue without explanation could cripple relations between the two countries. (ebf)