Wahid Here for Visit Today

Newly elected Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid is scheduled to arrive in Phnom Penh this afternoon as part of courtesy tour to Asean countries before the group’s summit late this month, officials said Sunday.

Wahid, who won the first free, contested presidential election in 54 years of Indo­nesian independence, began the tour Saturday in Singapore to introduce himself to Asean counterparts and discuss regional issues, Indonesian Embassy spokesman Martanba Tobing said.

During his five-day tour, Wahid plans to meet with top leaders of all member states, except Brunei because its king is out of the country, Tobing said. “This is an informal visit and we don’t have any specific topics to be urgently discussed,” To­bing said.

In his first visit to Cambodia, Wahid is scheduled to meet King Norodom Sihanouk, Prime Mini­ster Hun Sen, National Assem­bly President Prince Noro­dom Rana­riddh and Senate Presi­dent Chea Sim, said Chem Wid­hya, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is scheduled to leave for Hanoi early Tuesday.

“The visit will reaffirm and strengthen the bilateral relationship and help sustain the regional stability,” Chem Widhya said.

Cambodia and Indonesia have maintained a close relationship since 1950s when King Sihanouk and former president Sukarno had personal friendship, officials said.

Indonesia played an active role in establishing peace in Cambodia in 1991 as it co-chaired discussions for the Paris Peace Accord. At the last Asean summit, held in Hanoi last December, former President BJ Habibie pushed for Cambodia to be admitted as a member of Asean.

Calling Indonesia “a good friend of us,” Chem Widhya says more urgent issues in the two countries now lay in the Indonesian side.

“Political stability and reforms on economy in Indonesia are very important for all of us in the region,” he said. “The first thing President Wahid has to do is to seek all supports from the region.”



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