Indonesian President leads state funeral for Suharto

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Jakarta, Jan 28 : Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono today led a state funeral procession for former president Suharto at the Astana Giribangun family cemetery in Karanganyar in the country's Central Java province.

A Jakarta Post report said that Suharto's body was flown from the Halim Perdanakusumah Air Force Base in East Jakarta to Adisumarmo Air Force Base in Surakarta, Central Java before being carried in a motorcade to the cemetery.

The procession started with Presidential Military Secretary Major General Bambang Sutedjo reading out Suharto's biography, including the fact that he had been a five-star general who had received 27 decorations both from Indonesian and other countries as well as international organizations.

President Yudhoyono then presented Suharto with all his contributions to Ibu Pertiwi (the Motherland). Suharto was buried inside a coffin next to his wife, Tien Suharto, who died in 1996.

In his speech after the procession, Yudhoyono said Indonesia had lost one of its finest statesmen and true soldiers.

"The deceased has dedicated all of his life to the development of Indonesia," he said.

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad expressed his country's indebtedness to Suharto for his role in ending the Confrontation against Malaysia after he became president.

"We looked up to him as a great leader and as an international statesman. For me, it's quite personal. I knew him and worked with him for a very long time," Mahathir was quoted as saying by The Star on Monday.

"I regarded him as a friend of Malaysia and a personal friend."

He also said that Suharto had played a major role in the development of Indonesia, which has some 17,000 islands and a population of 200 million.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia was deeply saddened by Suharto's death.

The Indonesian Government has announced seven days of national mourning for the former president.


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