Kalla Flies to Saudi Arabia to Pay Respects to King Abdullah

JANUARY 24, 2015

Jakarta. Vice President Jusuf Kalla flew to Jeddah on Saturday to pay his respects to late Saudi Arabian king Abdullah bin Abdul Azis.

"The Vice President will also congratulate Crown Prince Salman as the new Saudi Arabian king," said the vice president's spokesman, Hussein Abdullah.

Kalla flew to Jeddah on Saturday morning accompanied by his wife, Mufidah Jusuf Kalla, and Minister of Religious Affairs Lukman Hakim Saifuddin using the presidential plane from Halim Perdanakusumah airport.

Hussein said Kalla's visit to Saudi Arabia was an official order from President Joko Widodo.

Kalla and his wife are also scheduled to perform a minor hajj pilgrimage or Umrah during their visit to Saudi Arabia.

Indonesia is lobbying Saudi Arabia to increase its hajj quota for Indonesian pilgrims after the limit was reduced by 20 percent to accommodate reduced capacity while the Grand Mosque in Mecca underwent renovation works.

Indonesia wants Saudi Arabia to transfer other countries' unused allocations to enable more people from the world's largest Muslim-majority country to go on Islam's most sacred pilgrimage.

Jusuf Kalla may also advocate on behalf of the 45 Indonesians awaiting execution in the kingdom. The 45 are mostly female domestic workers, and serious questions have been raised about the legitimacy of many of their criminal convictions.

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