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Indonesia rejects U.S. demand to expel Iraqi diplomats
JAKARTA, Mar 21, 2003 (Kyodo via COMTEX) -- Indonesia on Friday rejected demands of the U.S. government to expel Iraqi diplomats in Jakarta and freeze Iraqi bank accounts, saying the United States should not dictate other countries' foreign policies.

"The U.S. can't dictate to other countries," Vice President Hamzah Haz told reporters after attending Friday prayers at a mosque in Bekasi, a Jakarta suburb.

"Indonesia will not meet the political demands of the U.S., especially because our foreign policies are free and active...It is only us who can decide our own foreign policies," he added.

The Foreign Ministry also shared a similar view, calling the request "strange," a ministry spokesman said.

On Thursday, U.S. State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher called on countries around the world to expel Iraqi diplomats, saying they represent a "corrupt and ruthless regime" and to prevent the destruction of Iraqi documents in Iraqi embassies and consulates.

He also called on the countries to freeze Iraq's bank accounts so the money can be used by a new Iraqi government.

2003 Kyodo News (c) Established 1945

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