Subject: ST: Full US Military Ties With Jakarta 'Unlikely' - US Academic

Straits Times [Singapore] Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Full US military ties with Jakarta 'unlikely'

The counter-terrorism agenda will not weaken demands that Jakarta first answer allegations of past human rights abuses, says US academic


JAKARTA - Even as the United States pushes ahead with its worldwide counter-terrorism agenda, Washington is unlikely to resume full military ties with Indonesia before Jakarta answers allegations of past military abuses, said Stanford University's Indonesia observer Donald Emmerson.

Professor Emmerson will speak at a House of Representatives committee hearing today addressing US foreign policy towards South-east Asia after the Sept 11 attacks.

He told an Indonesian audience during a digital video conference yesterday: 'As of this moment, there is no realistic possibility of amending or cancelling the rules that Congress has adopted, in which they insist on progress on accountability with regards to the Indonesian military personnel who have been implicated in atrocities in various parts of the country.

'Frankly, there is a cynicism that many governments around the world would like to point to a problem inside their country to get it identified as a problem of terror in order to enlist American support.'

But Prof Emmerson reiterated that the Sept 11 attacks do not mean the US will let up on human rights issues in Indonesia.

He was referring to the 1997 Leahy Law, which prohibits US military assistance to countries that 'violate human rights with impunity'.

The professor's comments echoed those made by US Pacific Commander Admiral Dennis Blair during a stopover in Jakarta two weeks ago.

Then, Adm Blair told students of Indonesian military think-tank the National Resilience Institute: 'We are ready to resume the full range of bilateral cooperation, when the military reforms which the military is undertaking reach maturity.'

Washington cancelled all military cooperation with Jakarta following the wave of destruction perpetrated by militia groups allegedly connected to the Indonesian military in East Timor in 1999, and has since imposed six conditions for their resumption.

These preconditions include full investigation of the 1999 violence in East Timor and of the murder of three United Nations workers in West Timor last year.

However, Indonesian officials have contended that the lack of spare parts for and the embargo on US-made equipment have hurt Indonesia's ability to maintain stability, particularly in violence-torn areas, including the Maluku islands and Aceh.

Air force Chief Marshal Hanafie Asnan said last week that only 40 per cent of Indonesia's 233 US-made military aircraft could be flown, while the rest were grounded.

It is generally agreed that Jakarta has made little progress in terms of fulfilling the conditions set out by the Leahy Law.

The US has not included Indonesia in the list of 45 countries in which Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda terrorist group operates.

The list was released yesterday by the US Embassy here in connection with the third month anniversary of the Sept 11 attacks.

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