Prabowo begins first US visit after lifting of entry ban

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto began a five-day visit to the US on Thursday, his first since the US lifted its entry ban on him.

“Mr. Prabowo will have activities in the US from today till October 19, 2020. He will speak on defense cooperation between the US and Indonesia,” spokesperson for the Indonesian Defense Ministry, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, said in a written statement released on Thursday.

The visit is designed to extend various areas of cooperation the two nations have established so far, he added.

While in the US, Prabowo will meet with many parties, particularly those related to defense, Simanjuntak said.

He said he was not concerned about other parties rejecting and criticizing Prabowo’s visit to the US. “I think it is not a problem. Mr. Prabowo was once denied (entry to the US) and (faced) various accusations, while he was (part of the) state apparatus and a politician. We respect that,” he observed.

Prabowo is visiting the US at the invitation of its government to discuss ways to strengthen defense cooperation between the two countries, he added.

It was reported earlier that US President Donald Trump will receive the Indonesian Defense Minister at the Pentagon on Friday (October 16, 2020), after the lifting of the US entry ban on Prabowo on charges of human rights violations.

Prabowo will meet with US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, during his visit.

A senior US defense official has defended the decision to receive Prabowo at the Pentagon.

“Minister Prabowo is a defense minister appointed by the President elected twice in Indonesia, the world’s third largest democratic country,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

“He is our partner, from a very important partnership. It is important for us to get engaged with him and treat him as a partner,” the official added.

Prabowo, one-time commander of the special elite force, has been a controversial figure in Indonesia for quite a long time. He was once accused of being involved in military crimes.



Source: Antara News