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Indonesia seek explanations after United States denies entry to its military chief

"The US Embassy was, and remains, prepared to facilitate the General's travel to the United States", it said.

General Nurmantyo has been known for his controversial statements back home.

Gen Gatot was going to the US at the invitation of General Joseph F. Dunford Jr, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former head of the US Marine Corps.

The ministry had also sent a diplomatic note this morning to the US Embassy in Jakarta for the same concerns, Arrmanatha said in a written statement.

But that may not be enough for General Gatot.

Major General Wuryanto, Head of Public Relations at TNI, said the TNI chief and wife, along with his delegation had arranged visas and other administration requirements to prepare for departure to the US.

Indonesia generally enjoys good ties with the U.S., although ties between the two countries' armed forces in the past have been strained by alleged rights abuses involving Indonesia's armed forces.

The Lowy Institute's Aaron Connolly suspects a bureaucratic stuff-up.

Indonesia said Sunday its military chief had been refused entry to the United States and asked Washington for an explanation. A message seeking comment from a Customs and Border Protection spokesman was not immediately returned.

General Gatot is deeply suspicious of the USA and Australia. Earlier this year, he halted cooperation with the Australian military over training material displayed at Australia's Special Forces base in Perth after an Indonesian instructor found it to be mocking an official philosophical theory of the Indonesian state, Pancasila. That invitation came from one of the most powerful military officials in the US - General Joseph Dunford.

Mr Connolly said General Gatot may use this latest incident to his advantage. It made no mention of why he was stopped from traveling or by whom, only that he was "unable to travel as planned".

The General is due to retire next year and his supporters are urging him to run for president in 2019.



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