Thu, 25 May 2000

Gus Dur set to make another trip in June

JAKARTA (JP): President Abdurrahman is scheduled to make another overseas trip next month, including stopping over for medical treatment in the United States.

Without specifying the exact timetable, Minister of Foreign Affairs Alwi Shihab announced on Wednesday that the president would also go to Japan, France and Egypt.

According to Alwi, the president will make a brief stopover in Tokyo to attend a seminar organized by the economic daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun, before continuing his flight to Salt Lake City, Utah, for treatment of his eyes.

Abdurrahman will visit the Moran Eye Center in Utah where he was treated in November.

Doctors concluded then that Abdurrahman's right eye has only about 20 percent of normal vision, and his left is practically blind.

The president also has been treated on at least two occasions since December by a team of doctors from China. He suffered two strokes before becoming the country's fourth president in October.

Alwi explained that during his visit to France, the president would receive an honorary doctorate degree from Sorbonne University.

Abdurrahman will also visit Egypt to attend the summit of the Group of 15 developing countries (G-15) in Cairo.

The visit to Cairo will be a nostalgic journey for Abdurrahman who studied at Al Azhar University between 1964 and 1966.

Alwi also disclosed that the President has not made any decision about a possible trip to Australia in July, following strong criticism from the House of Representatives.

"We are still considering the plus and minuses of a visit," said Alwi. (prb)