President Jokowi happy to celebrate Idul Fitri in Aceh

President Jokowi happy to celebrate Idul Fitri in Aceh

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi, dressed in white) greets residents in the village of Kuala Bubun, Nagan Raya, Aceh province, on Thursday (June 16, 2015). (ANTARA/Yudhi Mahatma)

We hope Aceh remains the gateway to peace and promotes the values of humanity and peace."
Banda Aceh (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said he was happy to be celebrating Idul Fitri with the people of Aceh, in the province he dubbed the "gateway to peace" and the "center of Islamic civilization in Indonesia."

"I am so happy to be celebrating this day of victory with Acehnese people," the head of state told the people attending a luncheon in the Tsunami Museum area here on Friday.

Celebrating Idul Fitri away from Jakarta is new for an Indonesian President because the top leader usually celebrates the festival in the capital city, he pointed out.

The fact that Indonesia is more than just Jakarta encouraged him to decide to celebrate Idul Fitri in Aceh, the countrys westernmost province, President Jokowi remarked.

He was not new to Aceh as he had worked and lived there in the 1980s. "I stayed in Takengon, Central Aceh, and Lhokseumawe, North Aceh, from 1985 to 1987," he revealed.

During his stay in the province, Jokowi frequently visited Banda Aceh, the city he calls the "center of Islamic civilization in Indonesia."

In Indonesias history, the city and province of Aceh are part of the foundation and cause for the existence of the unitary state, he emphasized.

"We hope Aceh remains the gateway to peace and promotes the values of humanity and peace," he noted, adding that he was happy to see economic growth in the province.

"I met with the governor of Aceh several times to talk about opportunities to boost the provinces economy. There are numerous opportunities available here. Aceh is expected to be the engine of the economy," he stressed.

Accompanied by First Lady Iriana and several ministers, President Jokowi was in Aceh province from Wednesday to Friday. From Banda Aceh, he is scheduled to fly to Solo in Central Java.

(Reported by Panca Hari Prabowo and Yudi Mahatma/Uu.R013/INE/KR-BSR/O001)

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