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Obama foreign policy speech: Indonesian experts see mixed signals

Published on May 30, 2014 12:35 AM
 
John Kerry (left), US Secretary of State, being greeted by President of Indonesia, Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, before the gala dinner held at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week 2013 and APEC CEO Summit 2013. Indonesian observers welcome US President Barack Obama's recent remarks on a shift in strategy when it comes to combating terrorism, but were mixed about other points of his foreign policy message. -- PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

JAKARTA - Indonesian observers on Thursday welcomed United States President Barack Obama's remarks on a shift in strategy when it comes to combating terrorism, but were mixed about other points of his foreign policy message.

Mr Achmad Sukarsono, associate fellow at The Habibie Centre think-tank, told The Straits Times that aid in the form of funding to help affected countries fight extremism was welcome and would be better accepted in Indonesia and among Muslim communities worldwide.

"Physical US presence tends to be divisive and triggers suspicion that America is warring on Muslims," he said.

In his commencement speech at the United States Military Academy on Wednesday, Mr Obama called on Congress to back a new Counter-Terrorism Partnerships Fund of up to US$5 billion (S$6.5 billion) to work with countries in the Middle East and Africa in battling terror, which would be more effective than prolonged military intervention.

 
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