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Peace Corps May Return to Indonesia

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, is the second stop in Clinton's inaugural overseas trip as the top U.S. diplomat. She said that was "no accident," with the trip designed to show support for the country's hard-won democracy as well as its efforts to fight terrorism while respecting human rights. Steps were already being taken to improve relations, she said, announcing at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda that Peace Corps operations were expected to resume here after a long absence. Peace Corps volunteers last served in Indonesia from 1963 until 1965. They were expelled after leftists accused them of being spies. Clinton also indicated that more development aid was on the way. Indonesia, often held up as a beacon of Islamic democracy and modernity, has personal ties for President Barack Obama, who spent four years here as a child. Among those who turned out at the airport to welcome Clinton were 44 children from his former elementary school, singing traditional folk songs and waving Indonesian and U.S. flags. Clinton smiled and swayed to the music. "I bring greetings from President Obama, who has himself said and written about the importance of his time here as a young boy," Clinton said. "It gave him an insight into not only this diverse and vibrant culture, but also the capacity for people with different backgrounds to live harmoniously together." Wirajuda agreed, saying, "We have proven here democracy, Islam and modernity can go hand in hand." (via peacecorpsonline.typepad.com)
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