|Subject: JP: Lawmakers Urge Follow-Up on
SBY Overseas Deals
also: AFP - Normalisation of US-Indonesia Military Ties to
Help Democracy; AP- Sutarto; Indonesia's military
chief urges U.S. to resume full military ties for regional stability
The Jakarta Post
Monday, June 6, 2005
Lawmakers Urge Follow-Up on SBY Deals
Tony Hotland, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
While citing the generally positive outcome of President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono's recent overseas visit, House of Representatives members warned
on Saturday that the government had to ensure concrete follow-up to any
agreements sealed during the 12-day trip.
They expressed disappointment that the mission to get the United States to
lift its arms embargo on Indonesia had been fruitless, and criticized the
inclusion of family members of Susilo on the visit as unnecessary.
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) legislator Amris Hasan said
the results of the visit were all quite beneficial, including a couple of
economic memorandums of understanding sealed with Japan.
"It has to be noted, though, that state visits in the past by former
presidents often only led to talks without any follow-up. It is very
important that the deals with Japan be followed up on," said Amris, who sits
on the House's Commission I on foreign affairs.
Expressing a similar view, the chairman of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS)
faction, Untung Wahono, said it would be the way in which such memorandums
were implemented that would ultimately demonstrate the success or failure of
the state visits.
"MOUs may look good on paper, but it is the follow-up in the real world that
shows whether or not the nation, especially the public, will gain any
advantages from them," he said.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono arrived back home on Friday night from
Tokyo after a 12-day state visit to the United States, Vietnam and Japan. He
brought along a number of Cabinet ministers, legislators, and his wife and
In the middle of his overseas trip, two bombs exploded on May 28 in the
mainly Christian town of Tentena, some 60 kilometers north of Poso -- an
area once wracked by sectarian fighting in Central Sulawesi. The bombs
killed 21 people and injured 70 others.
The latest terror attack was considered by many, including legislators, as a
serious blow that made it tougher for the President to convince foreign
investors to put their money into the cash-strapped country.
The lawmakers also questioned the inclusion of Susilo's two sons on the long
visit and criticized the President for failing to save taxpayers' money by
shortening the trip.
Amris said the visit could have been shortened as many of the items on the
agenda, especially in the U.S. and Vietnam, were neither important nor
"Susilo flew to Seattle to meet (Microsoft boss) Bill Gates, and this took
up more time. He could have had Gates fly to Washington. The Vietnam visit
was also just a friendly one to bolster diplomatic ties ... it shouldn't
have taken so many days," he argued.
Amris' view was shared by National Mandate Party (PAN) faction chairman
Abdillah Toha, who said the Japanese visit was perhaps the only one to have
produced significant results.
"The target of restoring full military cooperation with the U.S wasn't
achieved. The U.S. executive was supportive, but we still haven't been able
to convince their Congress. The Vietnam visit was quite vital as Indonesia
can capitalize on their steady growth," said Abdillah.
The legislators also noted that it was quite inappropriate for Susilo's wife
and two sons to have tagged along.
"We on Commission I have always criticized this sort of thing -- ever since
the days of Abdurrahman Wahid and Megawati Soekarnoputri. It shows that the
practice hasn't changed at all," said Amris.
AFP, June 4, 2005
Normalisation of US-Indonesia Military Ties to Help Democracy: Sutarto
Indonesia's armed forces chief said the normalisation of military ties
between Jakarta and Washington would help strengthen democracy in his
country and ensure regional stability.
General Endriartono Sutarto said Saturday the full restoration of military
links was a matter for the political leaders of both nations to decide, but
said he would like to see this happen.
"Normalisation of relations is one of the most important things and it will
help a lot to give us knowledge concerning democracy, concerning the respect
for human rights, and also how to conduct humanitarian activities," he told
an international security forum in Singapore.
"It's up to the politicians to decide that, but it will help a lot in the
stability of the region and also it will help a lot the process of democracy
Sutarto, the commander-in-chief of the Indonesian National Defence Forces,
noted that he had received military training in the United States in 1977
and acknowledged this bolstered his career.
The United States froze military ties with Indonesia, the world's biggest
Islamic country, more than a decade ago because of alleged human rights
abuses by the armed forces.
But Washington announced on May 26 it had lifted a ban on the US government
selling nonlethal defence equipment to Indonesia as part of a process to
restore full military links.
"That means we can do foreign military sales in excess defence articles," US
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.
Washington's announcement coincided with a visit by Indonesian President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to the United States in which he met with US
President George W. Bush.
Direct US commercial sales of nonlethal defence articles and services were
allowed in January and involved providing spare parts to Indonesian C-130
military transport planes used in relief operations after the December 26
tsunami that ravaged Indonesia's Aceh province.
Boucher described last month's decision to allow government-to-government
sales as the "third step" in a process aimed at easing the military embargo
after the reformist Yudhoyono came into power through the country's first
direct presidential elections last year.
Indonesia is seeking military hardware and training assistance from the
United States to revitalise its overstretched and poorly equipped armed
forces guarding a vast archipelago.
In his speech to the delegates attending the Institute for International
Strategic Studies' Asia Security Conference, Sutarto also thanked all the
armed forces worldwide which came to Indonesia's rescue in the aftermath of
The United States sent a large-scale military and humanitarian contingent to
Indonesia for the relief operations, including the aircraft carrier Abraham
Lincoln and the floating hospital ship USNS Mercy.
The Australian, French, German, Japanese and Singaporean militaries also
"This is an example of how the militaries can work together, not to kill
each other but to save lives," Sutarto told the audience, comprised of
defence ministers, senior military officals, diplomats and scholars.
"It's really very helpful, very useful, all the soldiers that you sent to
Aceh... Good job."
The chairman of the US Joints Chief of Staff, General Richard Myers, was in
the audience for Sutarto's address.
June 4, 2005
Indonesia's military chief urges U.S. to resume full military ties for
Indonesia's armed forces chief on Saturday urged the United States to return
to a full normalization of military ties, saying it would help regional
stability as well as Indonesia's democracy.
The U.S. severed most military ties with Indonesia in 1999, when militias
backed by the Indonesian military destroyed much of East Timor and killed
about 1,500 people after residents voted for independence from Jakarta in a
Gen. Endriartono Sutarto said his country's military ties with Western
nations were "not so good because of human rights." But said his armed
forces _ with the largest troop numbers in Southeast Asia _ are trying to
"I understand that," he said, referring to Western militaries that have
severed ties with Indonesia. "No one in the world should violate human
"The people want a normalization of relations (with the United States),"
Sutarto said at a conference of security ministers and defense chiefs in
Singapore. "It would help stability in the region and the process of
democracy in Indonesia."
Washington decided last week to partially resume military sales to Jakarta,
following a meeting between U.S. President George W. Bush and Indonesian
leader Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The policy change drew criticism from human rights groups, who say Indonesia
hasn't done enough to curb the military's alleged human rights abuses in
Aceh province and other areas torn by separatist violence.
Earlier this year, the U.S. decided to renew training of Indonesian military
officers and to allow direct commercial sales of some defense items and
services. The step allowed Jakarta to buy spare parts for C-130 aircraft
transporting supplies to victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami in Aceh.
He said Indonesia was trying to find permanent peace in Aceh, where rebels
have been fighting for independence since the 1970s.
A round of peace talks between Aceh rebel leaders and the Indonesian
government ended earlier this week. Sutarto said he had no information on
whether the latest round would lead to an end of hostilities.
"Despite an effort to find a solution by dialogue, we are still continuing
to conduct military operations against rebels, but it is limited," he said.
A number of Indonesian lawmakers have recently urged the government to end
negotiations, saying rebels have no intention of dropping independence
GAM rebels have been fighting for a separate state since 1976 in a conflict
that has killed at least 15,000 people since 1990. Efforts to end the
fighting collapsed in 2003, but the peace process was revived after the
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