Subject: AN: Wiranto meets Boyce

Antara - The Indonesian National News Agency


Jakarta, May 27 (ANTARA) - Golkar Party presidential candidate Wiranto met with US ambassador Ralph L Boyce at the latter's residence on Jalan Suropati, Central Jakarta, here on Thursday.

The tete-a-tete lasted about 45 minutes, namely from 6.15 pm to 7 pm.

The meeting sparked speculation among newsmen that Wiranto wished to clarify various issues involving himself, including his alleged implication in human rights violations in East Timor in the past.

After the meeting, Wiranto declined to reply when newsmen asked about it. He only said "we talked about current developments, especially in connection with the campaign agenda and presidential election." He said his meeting with Boyce was something other presidential candidates had also done.

Among the topics he had discussed with the US envoy were Indonesia's future problems and relations with the US as well as opportunities the two countries could exploit. "He (Boyce) gave a good response," he said.

Wiranto said Boyce respected the current process of democracy in the country very much. "He expressed his respect for the democracy we are still building ,especially the presidential election," he said.

Regarding his nomination for president by the Golkar Party, Wiranto said "he (Boyces) appreciates what Golkar has done and taken into consideration."

"This shows that the process of democracy in Indonesia is recognized by the United States," he said.

Indonesia plans to hold its first-ever direct presidential election on July 5.

Wiranto will compete with four other candidates in the election namely incumbent President Megawati Soekarnoputri, incumbent Vice President Hamzah Haz, former coordinating minister of political and security affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and current chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly Amien Rais.

Wiranto has picked Sholahuddin Wahid, a figure from the country's largest Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama, as his running mate. Megawati meanwhile has teamed up with NU chief Hasyim Muzadi and Amien Rais with businessman Siswono Yudhohusodo. Hamzah Haz has taken former minister and military figure Agum Gumelar as his partner and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Golkar figure and businessman Yusuf Kalla.

Campaigning will start on June 1 and continue until July 1.

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