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Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Friday, 12 March 2010

Barack Obama delays Indonesia visit over healthcare

US President Barack Obama in Washington DC (11 March 2010)
Mr Obama spent four years in Indonesia as a child

US President Barack Obama has delayed a planned visit to South East Asia by several days to focus on healthcare reform, the White House has said.

Mr Obama had been due to visit Guam, Australia and Indonesia, where he briefly lived as a child.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Mr Obama's wife and children would also no longer accompany him on the trip.

The president has been pressing the Senate to pass a key vote on the long-running healthcare reform proposals.

Reforming healthcare has been a priority for Mr Obama but the legislation has been blocked by the Republican minority.

Mr Obama had been scheduled to leave for Asia on 18 March, but Mr Gibbs said the departure date was now 21 March.

On Thursday, Mr Gibbs said tour was an "extremely important trip" involving "important partners".

Mr Obama spent four years of his childhood in Indonesia with his American mother and Indonesian stepfather.

Regional security is expected to be a key focus of the visit, which comes as Indonesian police continues to search for suspected militants in Aceh province.



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