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Elaborate Preparations Underway for Bush's Visit

Bali to Feel Full Weight of the Flying White House.

(10/21/2003) The planned visit of U.S. President George W. Bush to Bali on Wednesday, October 22 albeit only for an estimated 4 hour's duration has set in motion elaborate preparations and security arrangements that are part and parcel of any foreign visit by America's Chief Executive. Bush with an official entourage of 260 others is scheduled to make a brief stopover in Bali enroute from Singapore to Australia on the last leg of his current Asian tour.

A Very Brief Visit

According to White House sources, President Bush will hold discussions with President Megawati Soekarnoputri as well as meet with Islamic leaders during his brief Bali visit. Exact details on the President's itinerary in Bali are not available, but it is widely believed that the President will travel the short distance from Ngurah Rai International Airport to the Patra Bali Resort, immediately adjacent to the airport, for a series of meetings and conferences.

Massive Security Measures

Local press reports tell of intense security precautions in place at the Ritz-Carlton Bali Resort and Spa, where the Presidential advance team has been staying days in advance of the presidential visit and in the areas surrounding the Patra Bali Resort.

The Indonesian-language Bali Post reports that 30 special armored vehicles are being flown to Bali to provide transport between the airport and the hotel. In addition, four U.S.-built F-16 jets, four Indonesian war ships, a number of helicopters, special sniper and commando units, and over 5,000 police will all be deployed to Bali in connection with the U.S. President's visit.

Special Procedures at Airport

White House requests that the Bali airport be closed from four hours prior to the President's scheduled arrival have reportedly been refused by transportation authorities. Instead, according to airport authorities, Air Force One will be treated similarly to the private aircraft used by the 14 heads of state in Bali last week for the ASEAN Summit. These procedures provide for a closure of the airport for 15 minutes before and after the arrival and departure of any special VIP flight.