The delay of US President Barack Obama’s scheduled visit to Indonesia will give the government more time to prepare for the agreements the two nations plan to sign, analysts said on Friday.
“This is actually a blessing in disguise,” said Bogor Institute of Agriculture economics professor Didin S Damanhuri. “Now president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono should take the time to build dialog and advance the best action plan we can bring when we meet Obama.”
That process should include discussions with stakeholders such as universities, social and religious organizations and nongovernmental organizations, Didin explained during a discussion at the Regional Representatives Council (DPD).
The White House announced late on Thursday, Jakarta time, that Obama’s visit would be postponed until June as the American president works to pass the controversial healthcare bill at the center of his legislative agenda. The trip had already been delayed once by three days in the hope that the bill would pass earlier.
Didin said the government could also use the intervening time to make sure it gets full and fair benefits from any new deals with the US.
“We have some commodities that are needed by the US, but on another hand, we need to get them to transfer some of their technology, or we should get more scholarships for our students, for example,” Didin said.
Obama and President Yudhoyono are expected to formally launch a comprehensive partnership between nations when they meet. Presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal has said the two leaders will discuss cooperation on such key issues as energy, the environment, health, science and technology, trade and investment.
DPD Deputy Chairman Laode Ida had not scheduled any meetings with local governments to talk about the impacts of the agreement.
“We want to know what points are going to be negotiated by both presidents,” he said.