FM: Obama visit boosts US-Indonesian ties

President Barack Obama's visit to Indonesia next month will give new momentum to already positive relations between Washington and Jakarta, the foreign minister said Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said Indonesia welcomed Washington's more consultative approach with the Southeast Asian region since Obama took office a year ago.

"The trajectory was already positive" under former President George W. Bush, Natalegawa said of US-Indonesian relations. But he said Obama, who lived in Indonesia as a boy, has given ties a fresh momentum.

Natalegawa said the lack of democracy in the predominantly Muslim nation before the fall of dictator Soeharto in 1998 had long been an obstacle in US-Indonesian relations.

"On the issue of the promotion of democracy in the region, I must say that the present US administration has been very diligent in wanting to listen to the views of countries in the region," Natalegawa told reporters.

Obama is to visit Indonesia, Guam and Australia starting March 20.