Indonesian President to Visit Iraq in November
Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid plans to go ahead with a visit to Iraq to meet with President Saddam Hussein in mid-November this year, the state Antara news agency reported Thursday.
Wahid, who is in New York attending the UN Millennium Summit, said neither US President Bill Clinton nor Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had repeated US objections to his planned visit during the summit.
"If they had wanted to, they would have come up to my dining table," he was quoted by Antara as telling journalists in New York.
Iraq has been under an international economic embargo following its invasion of neighboring Kuwait in 1990.
Wahid said last month that Indonesia wanted to see the blockade on Iraq lifted and expressed his sympathies to the plight of the Iraqi people.
But Albright quickly warned Wahid that any visit there would "harm his stature."
"Doing something to spite the US is not great policy," she said then.
Indonesia is a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement, a group of nations who do not form part of any ideological block.
Wahid, who is fluent in Arabic and studied as a youth at the University of Baghdad, in April said that he had been asked by the United States not to visit five countries on Washington's "rogue states" list.
US undersecretary of state for political affairs, Tom Pickering, had during a visit to Jakarta before the Group of 77 summit in Cuba, "asked me not to go to Cuba," he said then.
"We are not a lackey of the US. We are free to go anywhere. If we didn't go (to Cuba) it would be clear that we are colonized by the US," he said.
Wahid said Pickering had also asked him not to visit Libya, Iran, Iraq and North Korea - JAKARTA (AFP)
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