Subject: No ban on key air force parts for Indonesia --U.S.

No ban on key air force parts for Indonesia --U.S.

JAKARTA, March 27 (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday denied it had banned spare part supplies for transport planes used by Indonesia, a ban Jakarta's defence minister said had hindered efforts to stop last month's ethnic slaughter in Borneo.

Defence Minsiter Mahfud M.D. said on Sunday that only two of the 26 U.S.-made Hercules planes used to transport troops were operational because of a U.S. embargo on military ties which dates back to 1999.

"Indonesian Defence Minister Mahfud's statement that the U.S. continues to ban the supply of spare parts of the Indonesia Air Force's Hercules (C-130) is not true," the U.S. embassy in Jakarta said in a statement.

"The U.S government currently places no restrictions on the commercial sales of C-130 parts to Indonesia," it added.

The United States lifted the restrictions last September, it said.

Nearly 500 people were killed in the ethnic slaughter last month in Indonesia's central Borneo where police and troops have been widely accused of doing little to stop the violence.

Washington cut military ties with Indonesia in 1999 after pro-Jakarta militias, backed by Indonesian soldiers, razed East Timor following its vote to break from Jakarta's often brutal rule. Ties ranged from military training to equipment supply.

The United States has clashed regularly with the outspoken Mahfud over a range of issues since the relatively unknown academic became defence minister last August.


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