Indonesian leader postpones Netherlands trip due to trial

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Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono postponed on Tuesday a visit planned this week to the Netherlands, citing a human rights trial in the host country that might threaten him with arrest.

Yudhoyono cancelled the visit more than an hour after he was supposed to leave on the three-day diplomatic trip to the former colonial power.

"My visit there would coincide with trials related to the RMS (South Maluku Republic) in the Netherlands, in which at the time there would be a ruling whether to arrest the president of Indonesia," Yudhoyono said.

Jakarta crushed the RMS shortly after it declared independence in 1950 but the movement was revived following the fall of authoritarian president Suharto in 1998.

"If the trial takes place during my visit, then this is tied to the dignity and honour of the country, therefore I have decided to postpone this trip," the president said.

If he went ahead with the visit, it might create "misunderstanding" and a "bad psychological reaction," he added.

Indonesia has fought numerous separatist insurgencies throughout the sprawling archipelago and remains sensitive to breakaway movements.

© 2010 AFP

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