|Subject: LUSA: Defense Force Willing to
Accept Indonesian Aid
03 Sep 01 18:00 East Timor: Defense Force Willing to Accept Indonesian Aid
East Timor's Defense Force would be willing to accept Indonesian military aid if the offer was made by Jakarta, the force's commander said on Monday.
"If they decide to help us, then we are willing to accept the offer because we want to improve relations with Indonesia", Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak said.
He was referring to statements made last week by the deputy commander of the Indonesian army, Kiki Syahnakri.
Syahnakri, who oversaw the martial law period in East Timor after the 1999 independence plebiscite, said his country's armed forces wanted to "forget past enmity" and were ready to aid East Timor via cooperation, education or even training.
Matan Ruak, a former resistance commander, denied Monday that there were contacts between the two sides regarding military cooperation, but said he was open to help from East Timor's larger neighbor and former occupying power. However, he cautioned that any decision on such aid was up to East Timor's current UN transition administration (UNTAET).
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