US Lifts Travel Warning For Indonesia

May 25, 2008

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The US State Department has lifted its travel warning for Indonesia, the US ambassador in Jakarta said on Sunday, reflecting improved security and paving the way for closer ties between the two countries.

The Islamic militant group Jemaah Islamiah, which wanted to create an Islamic caliphate in Southeast Asia, carried out a series of deadly bomb attacks in Indonesia between 2002 and 2005, dealing a severe blow to the country's tourism and trade.

Following the bombings, the Indonesian authorities worked closely with foreign allies to arrest militants and step up security.

"The US has lifted the warning due to objective improvements made by Indonesia in its current security situation," the US embassy said in a statement.

"Indonesia has not experienced a major terrorist attack since October 2005, and the government of Indonesia has disrupted, arrested, and prosecuted numerous terrorist elements," it said.

The embassy added that the warning had been in effect since November 2000 and that it was cancelled with effect from May 23.

Members of Jemaah Islamiah bombed bars in the Indonesian resort island of Bali in 2002, killing more than 200 foreigners and Indonesians. The group later bombed Western targets in the capital Jakarta, including the JW Marriott hotel and Australian embassy.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia's biggest economy, has the world's largest Muslim population.