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Obama in Indonesia, but Volcano Will Shorten Stay

Tuesday, 09 Nov 2010 01:38 PM

JAKARTA - President Obama arrived in Indonesia on Tuesday for a short stay mixing diplomacy with an important Muslim nation and nostalgia as he returns to a boyhood home, The Washington Post reports.

But the eruption of the Merapi volcano, and a question about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, interrupted his visit in different ways.

Speaking at a news conference Tuesday with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Obama said it was "disorienting" to return to a city as president where he spent four years of his childhood.

He said the city's single tall building of his boyhood - the Serena - now is among the shortest in the bristling urban skyline he viewed from his motorcade window.

Using Indonesian terms, he recounted memories of streets filled with bicycle rickshaws and stand-up-in-back taxis, noting that as president "they clear the roads for me" so he did not know if they still existed. His reminiscences drew a smile from his counterpart and knowing chuckles from the Indonesian media present.

"Not enough Americans know about this great country," Obama said, chalking that up to Indonesia's location on the other side of the world.

But Obama noted Indonesia's plight after a set of recent natural disasters, most urgently the eruption of Merapi, which has killed more than 150 Indonesians. He offered U.S. help in relief operations and said his visit at this time should be understood as proof that "in good times and in bad, the United States stands as a friend to Indonesia."

Read the entire story at washingtonpost.com

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JAKARTA - President Obama arrived in Indonesia on Tuesday for a short stay mixing diplomacy with an important Muslim nation and nostalgia as he returns to a boyhood home, The Washington Post reports.
obama indonesia
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2010-38-09
Tuesday, 09 Nov 2010 01:38 PM
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