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10/24/03 - BUSH IN INDONESIA - 2003-10-24

Under the leadership of President Megawati Sukarnoputri, Indonesia is one of America’s strongest allies in the global war against terrorism.

On October 22nd, President George W. Bush went to Bali, Indonesia, to pay homage to Indonesian victims of the war on terror. He remembered the twelve people killed in August in the suicide bombing at Jakarta's J.W. Marriott Hotel. And he remembered the more than two-hundred people murdered in last October’s terrorist nightclub bombings in Bali:

“Today we pay tribute to the victims, we remember the suffering of their families and we reaffirm our commitment to win the war on terror. President Megawati has confronted this evil directly. She was one of the first leaders to stand with me after September 11th. Under her leadership, Indonesia is hunting and finding dangerous killers.”

The terrorism in Jakarta and Bali was carried out by the al-Qaida terrorist network's arm in Southeast Asia, Jemaah Islamiyah. Jemaah Islamiyah is committed to establishing an extremist Muslim state in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and parts of Thailand and the Philippines.

Since the attacks, the Indonesian government has apprehended dozens of Jemaah Islamiyah suspects. Four Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists who were involved in the Bali blasts have been sentenced -- three of them to death. More than twenty others have also been convicted.

Indonesia’s success in fighting terrorism, said Mr. Bush, is related to its success as a pluralistic and democratic state:

“America believes that freedom and democracy are critical to defeating terror because free nations that respect human rights do not breed hatred, resentment, and the ideologies of murder. And the United States strongly supports a healthy democracy in Indonesia, for the sake of your own people and for the sake of peace.”

"Indonesia is a vital partner and Indonesia is a friend to America,” said President Bush. “We share a commitment to democracy and tolerance. And we stand together against terrorism."