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Indonesia decries US visitor-registration move JAKARTA - Indonesia, an ally in the U.S. war on terror, lashed out on Friday at its inclusion on a list of countries whose citizens must register and be fingerprinted when visiting the United States. The requirement, which applies to males 16 years old and over, is part of a controversial U.S. anti-terrorism programme and has been applied to visitors from various countries, most of them Muslim.
On Thursday, U.S Justice Department officials said Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait would be added to the list. Asked to comment on the move, Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa said it was discriminatory. "We find it difficult to comprehend, and we deeply regret this decision as it is discriminatory in the sense that it targeted certain countries without a clear reason," he said.
"It also has potential to cause problems to individuals who had nothing to do with the terrorism issue." Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous country and the most populous Muslim country. A bomb attack on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali in October killed more than 190 people, most of them foreign tourists.
The attack was blamed on Muslim militants suspected of having links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. Indonesia was criticised by some analysts as getting off to a slow start in the anti-terrorism fight after the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001. But it has won praise in the wake of the Bali bombing for a series of arrests, many of suspects linked to the attack. Some of the suspects had ties to Jemaah Islamiah, a regional network of militant Muslims linked to al Qaeda.
Natalegawa said there had been no discussion of the U.S. decision with the Indonesian side and Jakarta would seek a clarification from U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, who is visiting Indonesia on Friday.



Posted in General @ 17 January 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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