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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama speaks Indonesian during state department visit

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - On his second day in office, Obama speaks Indonesian during state department visit Barack Obama visited the Department of State in Washington DC and had an opportunity to speak in Bahasa Indonesia, the US Embassy here reported on Friday.

His visit emphasized his administration`s focus on diplomacy, and also marked Hillary Clinton`s first day as the Department`s 67th Secretary of State.

The President also spoke Bahasa Indonesia with a Department employee and expressed a desire to visit his old neighborhood in Jakarta.

President Obama was accompanied by Vice President Joseph Biden and National Security Advisor General James L. Jones. During his visit, he announced special envoys to the Middle East, and Afghanistan and Pakistan, and addressed US diplomats.

President Obama joined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to announce former Senator George Mitchell as Special Envoy to the Middle East peace process and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke as his Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan - moves that underscore the new administration`s commitment to renewing America`s leadership through reinvigorated diplomacy.

"We are confronted by extraordinary, complex and interconnected global challenges," Obama said to the State Department employees.

"Progress will not come quickly or easily, nor can we promise to right every single wrong around the world. But we can pledge to use all elements of American power to protect our people and to promote our interests and ideals, starting with principled, focused and sustained American diplomacy."

After making his formal remarks, President Obama afterwards mingled with US diplomats, shaking hands and chatting casually. While doing so, Charles Silver -- a former counselor for public affairs at the US Embassy in Jakarta -- addressed him in Bahasa Indonesia, saying "Selamat Siang, Bapak."

Without missing a beat, Obama responded, "Terima kasih -- Apa kabar?" Silver responded "Baik, baik" and then told the President he had served in Indonesia several times, and Obama complimented him on his accent.

The President then said that if he visits Indonesia, he would like to visit his old neighborhood in Menteng, Central Jakarta.

Source : Antara

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