Subject: AFP: Half of Indonesia's fighter planes grounded by US embargo

Agence France Presse December 4, 2001 Tuesday

Half of Indonesia's fighter planes grounded by US embargo


Half of Indonesia's fighter aircraft have been grounded for lack of spare parts because of the US military embargo, the military said Tuesday.

Out of a total of 233 fighters, only between 40 percent and 50 percent are operational, air force chief of staff Marshal Hanafie Asnan was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying.

Most of Indonesia's fighter aircraft are US-made.

Armed forces spokesman Air Rear Marshal Graito Usodo confirmed Asnan's statement. He said the US-made fighters included F16s, F5s, Skyhawks and OV10s.

"The US has always said the embargo will be lifted but the implementation is not as good as the words, especially in the case of fighter aircraft," he said.

Usodo said the US had lifted the embargo on spare parts for transport aircraft in September last year.

Asnan said US officials had recently "made noises" about lifting the embargo "but so far they have not honoured their promise."

Washington cancelled all military cooperation following the violence in East Timor which was sparked by the August 1999 vote for independence from Jakarta. Military-backed militias embarked on a wave of murder and destruction.

Last week the US military chief for the Pacific said the Indonesian armed forces should account for that violence before they can resume full military cooperation with Washington.

"We are ready to resume the full range of bilateral cooperation when the military reforms which the TNI (the Indonesian armed forces) is undertaking reach maturity," Admiral Dennis Blair said.

"The primary criteria is the completion of the actions regarding accountability for the action of the TNI in East Timor following the referendum in 1999."

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