Wed, 12 Sep 2001

Indonesia deplores plane attacks on U.S.

JAKARTA (JP): Minister of Foreign Affairs Hassan Wirayuda describes the World Trade Center bombing in Manhattan, New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. as a "brutal" and "inhuman" act.

"I really deplore the bombing. I called U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (by phone) in the States but in such a situation they must be consolidating their operations," Hassan told Antara news agency here on Tuesday.

Hassan reiterated that the bombing was an inhuman act and an affront to humanity.

The World Trade Center towers collapsed after two aircraft struck them early on Tuesday within minutes of each other while explosions rocked the Pentagon and the State Department.

Separately, a source told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday night that President Megawati Soekarnoputri was likely to cancel her scheduled visit to Washington on Sept. 17.

"A decision will be taken in a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday)," the source who refused to be named said.

Megawati met with Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Adm. Widodo at her residence on Jl. Teuku Umar Tuesday night.

The United States Embassy in Jakarta would be closed on Wednesday, Antara news agency quoted Anto, an embassy staff member as saying.

Security protection around the United States Embassy and the residence of Ambassador Robert S. Gelbard was reinforced on Tuesday night. Fully-armed police were seen on alert at the two locations.

Separately, the number of calls to the United States increased dramatically on Tuesday night soon after the bombing.

"We are very busy tonight. Virtually every minute there is a request for a connection. It is not the case on normal days," said Baedi, a Telkom telephone operator told the Post.

The bombing also caused confusion among Indonesian parents whose children are studying in the U.S.

Marijani, a housewife, was trying to contact relatives in Jakarta who might know the whereabouts of her son.

"He is studying in Hawaii, but he likes traveling to the mainland. Who knows he may be in Washington or New York now," Marijani told the Post, adding that she already tried to contact him several times, but there was no response. (dja/hbk)