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14 March 2010

Let Obama be a PR man for Indonesia, said local university rector

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Indonesian university rector suggested US President Barack Obama’s planned visit to his country this month should be used to promote the Southeast Asian nation, state news agency Antara reported.

"If Indonesia wants its position in the international arena to be strong it has to make the US a stepping stone. The question now is how we can make Obama serve as our PR man," he said at a discussion here on Saturday.

He said Indonesia must have a strategic agenda in connection with Obama’s visit, otherwise it would be the US’s agenda that would prevail.

He said if Obama promotes Indonesia for example with regard to pluralism and democracy in the country the effect will be huge and remembered for up to the next 50 years.

"Like when President Soekarno met with President John F Kennedy. That was unforgettable," the grandson of national movement fighter AR Baswedan said.

He said it would be futile if Obama’s visit later would only be used for discussing technical things such as cooperation between the two countries.

"Cooperation is micro, could be carried out by ministerial-level officials or director generals. It is promotion which should be the main point," he said.

Obama is scheduled to visit Indonesia on March 21 to 26, changed from initially on March 18-24.


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