Subject: AP: Senior U.S. envoy discusses economic, security issues with Indonesian president

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Top diplomat, Indonesia discuss military ties

Senior U.S. envoy discusses economic, security issues with Indonesian president

JAKARTA (AP): A senior American diplomat met President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Saturday and discussed a range of economic and security issues ahead of visit to the United States by the four-star general later this month, officials said.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick later discussed with Planning Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati about America's role in rebuilding Indonesia's tsunami-devastated Aceh province,including plans to finance a US$245 million road project, embassy officials said.

Zoellick also witnessed the signing of an agreement for the United States to provide US$73 million in aid to Indonesia, including cash to establish an anti-corruption court aimed at stemming the country's endemic graft.

The sum is part of larger initiative to help Indonesia. Last week, the United States Agency for International Development announced two programs valued at US$90 million to improve Indonesia's troubled education system.

"A partnership with Indonesia extends far beyond the work we have" in dealing with "the earthquake and tsunami in Aceh and Nias," Zoellick told reporters.

Earlier in the day, presidential spokesman Dino Djalal said that Susilo and Zoelick had "a very rich bilateral and international discussion."

"They talked about a lot of economic issues and education, which is a priority for the president," he said. "They talked about the president's designs on reforms and about international issues ... the role of ASEAN and recent Asian-Africa conference in Jakarta."

Zoellick, who is on 10-day tour of Southeast Asia, will visit Aceh and sign an agreement with Indonesia's reconstruction authority to finance a road reconstruction project on Sunday, embassy officials said. He will then leave for Malaysia and Singapore on the final leg of his trip. (**)

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Top diplomat, Indonesia discuss military ties

Sat May 7, 4:29 AM ET

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A top U.S. diplomat met Indonesia's president on Saturday and discussed a revival in military ties between the two countries as well as reconstruction efforts in the tsunami-hit Aceh province.

Neither U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick nor President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono spoke to reporters after the meeting and an Indonesian spokesman gave only sketchy details.

"They talked about cooperation in education, investment, military reform and relations with the American military," Dino Patti Djalal told reporters.

He said the two also discussed Yudhoyono's upcoming visit to Washington on May 25-26.

Zoellick is on a tour of Southeast Asia. He will travel to Aceh on Sunday to review U.S. efforts in helping reconstruction.

Djalal said the United States would help with rehabilitation of the road network between the Acehnese capital of Banda Aceh and the city of Meulaboh to the south, a 250 km (155 mile) stretch of key road that was badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami on December 26.

The massive earthquake sent walls of water smashing into Aceh, leaving more than 160,000 people dead or missing.

Military ties between the United States and Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, have begun to improve.

In February, Washington moved to revive the small but high-profile International Military and Education and Training program that was severed in the early 1990s because of human rights abuses in <http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=East+Timor>East Timor. However, other cooperation, including the sale of American arms to Jakarta, is still frozen.

Washington's move to improve military ties with a key ally in the war on terrorism has been condemned by human rights groups, which argue the Indonesian armed forces has yet to properly account for past abuses and undertake enough reforms.

Zoellick has visited Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. After Indonesia he travels to Malaysia and Singapore.


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