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Indonesia seeks explanation for military chief's travel bar after US's apology


REUTERS
JAKARTA
Indonesia on Monday said it had made"urgent" request for an explanation why the United States barred its military chief from travelling to the US, as anger simmered in the world's largest Muslim-majority country over the diplomatic incident.
Armed forces commander General Gatot Nurmantyo was stopped on Saturday from boarding an Emirates flight to the US, despite having a visa and an official invitation to a conference from his counterpart, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, General Joseph F. Dunford Jr.
Foreign minister Retno Marsudi said she had accepted an official apology from the deputy US ambassador in Jakarta, but still awaited a detailed explanation.
"We conveyed that we still await clarification, an explanation why this happened," Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters after meeting the US envoy.
"There is a sense of urgency to this that we have conveyed to them," she said, adding that US officials were"trying to coordinate with relevant authorities in the US to find out what really happened."
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis apologized for the incident to his Indonesian counterpart Ryamizard Ryacudu on the sidelines of an ASEAN meeting in the Philippines, and the two were photographed shaking hands.
"I can confirm that he did a pull-aside with the Indonesian minister and expressed regret and apologised for the inconvenience," Captain Jeff Davis, a spokesman for Mattis, told Reuters.
In a statement, the US embassy in Jakarta said,"This issue has been resolved. There is no restriction on General Gatot's travel and we look forward to welcoming (him) to the United States."

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