"Therefore, we must be wary about the US plan to build a new embassy building in Jakarta."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - United States Ambassador to Indonesia Scot Marciel has discussed with Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, the planned renovation of the US Embassy building here.

Marciel met with Jokowi on Wednesday and congratulated him on his election as Jakarta governor before discussing cooperation efforts in various fields.

During the meeting, they also touched upon the renovation of the US Embassy building in Jakarta.

"We briefly discussed the renovation of the embassy building, which will start soon, but that was not the main purpose of my meeting with the Jakarta governor," Marciel pointed out.

He said they discussed ways to increase cooperation between the US Embassy and the government of Jakarta.

With regard to the United States` plan to expand its embassy in Jakarta to accommodate several more buildings within its premises, spread over 36,000 square metres, Hisbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) expressed suspicion that the embassy building would become something of a military base for the US.

"The allegation is not baseless because it was clearly mentioned in the construction documents that the project would include a marine safety unit, called Marine Security Guard Quarters (MSGQ), a secret facility and security personnel," HTI spokesman Ismail Yusanto said in a press statement on Tuesday.

Planned to be completed within five years, the US Embassy in Jakarta will be the third largest in the world after the ones in Iraq and Pakistan.

Ismail said the project would involve design and construction services, including a New Office Building (NOB) attached with MSGQ.

He stated that the US Embassy in Jakarta could also become a military base because the US had already opened a military base in Darwin, Australia, last year.

"Currently, 250 members of the US Marines are stationed at the military base there. The number is expected to reach 2,500 in 2016," Ismail pointed out.

"After the embassy expansion in Jakarta, the US would have a much bigger presence in Indonesia and the ASEAN region," he said.

"Therefore, we must be wary about the US plan to build a new embassy building in Jakarta," Ismail explained.

"Besides, the embassy could also serve as an intelligence unit for US and provide them with more information about the internal affairs of our country," he said.

"Therefore, Hisbut Tahrir Indonesia is opposed to the project. There`s a fear that the US would slowly establish domination over Indonesia, especially in political and economic fields," Ismail continued.

"We are calling on the Indonesian government to not allow this project. Otherwise, it will prove that the Indonesian government has bowed to the pressure of this imperialist country," he added.

Marciel announced in July last year that the US Government planned to construct a new embassy building in Jakarta as part of its commitment to an enduring and comprehensive partnership with Indonesia.

"The construction of our new embassy building will cost about US$450 million and it`s going to employ about 5,000 Indonesian workers. But the most important thing is that we will have a new and environmentally friendly embassy in Jakarta," Marciel said at the time.

"Discussions on the construction of the new embassy building have been going on for a long time, including consultations with architects and project planners in Jakarta, to make the embassy building more appealing," he stated.

The US Embassy building in Jakarta is situated near the Merdeka Square, also known as Monas area, at Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan No. 4, Central Jakarta. The US embassy has been located there since 1949 and has been carrying out its official activities.

"The new building complex will use the highest standards of design, landscaping and sustainability in order to create a sense of openness and transparency for the staff and visitors," Marciel pointed out.

American designers have made several trips to Indonesia over the past five years to consult with Indonesian experts on Indonesian architecture, design and culture.

Overseas Building Operation Project Director Tamela Simpson said the new building would be covered by glass walls, which will replace the stone walls that are typical of many US embassy offices.

"The Indonesian textile-inspired sunscreen and curtain walls would create a friendly and welcoming ambience," she pointed out.

Tamela added that the new embassy building would also showcase Indonesian art and culture.

"The building will feature rainwater harvesting, bio-retention areas, porous pavements, photovoltaic (solar) panels and building sunscreens," she continued.

It means the embassy will be able to meet its own water requirements, while the sunscreens will reduce the building`s cooling load by 25 percent.

Reporter: by Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2013