British prime minister to visit Indonesia

British Prime Minister Tony Blair will visit Indonesia later this month, the first trip to the Southeast Asian nation by a British premier for more than 20 years, Indonesia's foreign minister said Monday.

The purpose of the trip was to "renew the ties" between the two countries after such a long gap without high-level talks, Hassan Wirajuda told reporters in Jakarta, giving no more details.

Blair was due in Jakarta on March 29 for a two-day visit, said Wirajuda.

Blair's trip will follow a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is due in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The United States and other Western powers are keen to support Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation and a liberal democracy, as it struggles against al-Qaida-linked militants blamed for a series of attacks in recent years, reports the AP.

I.L.