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New U.S. Ambassador Appointed

Ralph 'Skip' Boyce - Washington's New Envoy to Jakarta. Early Signs of a More Cordial Relationship.

(10/29/2001) Ambassador Ralph Boyce visited the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday, October 24, to present his credentials to Mrs. Megawati Soekarnoputri, Indonesia's President.

A career Senior Foreign Service Officer, Mr. Boyce has served in Washington as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asia and Pacific Affairs since August 31, 1998. Previous postings include Tehran as Staff Assistant to the Ambassador, Commercial Attaché in Tunis, Islamabad as an Embassy Financial Economist, a special assistant to Deputy Secretary of State, a political counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangkok, and as Charge d' Affaires in Singapore.

Fluent in Persian, French and Thai, Ambassador Boyce has managed in less than a week in his new post to already strike a more cordial tone with Indonesian policy makers and press. In stark contrast to the often stirdent tones of his predecessor, he quickly declared that he looks forward to establishing an open dialogue with Indonesia's majority Islamic community regardings America's 'war on terror,' and has opened that dialogue by declaring publicly that he felt there was limitless potential for a strong mutually beneficial relationship between Jakarta and Washington.

Plans are actively being discussed in Bali to send a delegation of tourism leaders to Jakarta to formally welcome Ambassador Boyce, extend an invitation to visit Bali early in his term, brief him on the pivotal role played by tourism in the island's economy, explain how Bali has an impeccable record of maintaining security for all its visitors, and explore whether the U.S. Government might consider dealing with Bali as a separate case when issuing future travel warnings. A host of other nations, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan have typically excluded Bali when issuing negative travel advisories on Indonesia.