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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Summit Appeals for Indonesia Reform

BIRMINGHAM, England -- World leaders on Friday called for political change in riot-scarred Indonesia and President Bill Clinton appeared to distance the United States clearly from veteran strongman President Suharto.

Clinton issued a statement calling for the people of Indonesia to be given "a real voice."

He had earlier discussed the chaos in the sprawling Southeast Asian state with Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and French President Jacques Chirac ahead of a Group of Eight summit in Birmingham, England.

Asked if the time had come for Suharto to step down, Clinton told reporters: "The question you asked is one the Indonesian people have to decide.

The White House said more than 10,000 U.S. troops taking part in an exercise off the coast of Thailand, including a Marine Corps expeditionary force, were available if needed in connection with the unrest in Indonesia.

Chirac and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi made what sounded like thinly veiled calls for a change of leadership in Jakarta after 32 years of Suharto's autocratic rule.