Jokowi cancels Australia trip to attend to 'current developments' in Indonesia

Members of hardline Muslim groups hold a big national flag as they attend a protest against Jakarta's incumbent governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama on Nov 4, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - Indonesian President Joko Widodo has postponed his planned visit to Australia from Nov 6 to 8, expressing regret that "current developments" require him to remain in the country, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday (Nov 5).

The statement was not clear on what "current developments" merited cancellation of the trip, but it is likely that it was referring to Friday's (Nov 4) rally in Jakarta by Muslim hardliners, which turned violent.

"President Jokowi has called PM (Malcolm) Turnbull to convey the postponement of the visit," according to the statement.

"The President has also tasked the Indonesian Foreign Minister to discuss with her Australian counterpart to discuss new dates for the visit in the near future," it said.

The statement went on to express gratitude to the Australian government for the "exceptional arrangements" that had been made for Mr Joko's visit.

The relationship between Indonesia and Australia "is in its best shape. It is the mutual commitment of both countries to further strengthen this important relationship," the statement said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.