Subject: Antara: Indonesia to Thank US If Arms Embargo Lifted: President

also: JP: Susilo talks defense with Bush, Putin; and Indonesia; and Spain, Indonesia to Forge Defence Ties

Indonesia to Thank US If Arms Embargo Lifted: President ["...especially if the decision is not connected with military reform in Indonesia"]

BUSAN,'S Korea, Nov 21 Asia Pulse/Antara - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said that the Indonesian government will thank the US government if the embargo on arms sales to Indonesia is lifted, especially if the decision is not connected with military reform in Indonesia.

He made the remark here Saturday in response to a question over news reports that the US government will resume military cooperation with Indonesia, including the sale of military equipment to the Indonesian Defence Force (TNI).

According to the reports, the normalization of military relations is based on US congress' appraisal of reform steps in the TNI, including the handling of human rights, East Timor and Aceh issues, the President said, adding that Indonesia had actually included the TNI in the reform agenda seven years ago.

However, Yudhoyono expected information from US President George W. Bush himself about the background of the decision to resume military cooperation with Indonesia.

"We have engaged in cooperation with the US for a long time, and if information about the US government's intention to lift the arms sales embargo is right, we will fully resume activities in cooperation with the US, including the purchase of military equipment," he said.

Answering a question about the plan to develop cooperation in the defense sector with Russia, the President made it clear that Indonesia will continue the plan without leaving the US.

Indonesia needs technology transfer not only from one source to support the development of the national armaments industry, he said.

"We seek new partners in the provision of weaponry without leaving old partners for the diversification of arms supply sources," the President said.

The head of state was flanked by Trade Minister Marie Pangestu, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda and Coordinating Minister of the Economy Aburizal Bakrie during the press conferenece.

 

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The Jakarta Post

Monday, November 21, 2005

Susilo talks defense with Bush, Putin

Rendi A. Witular, The Jakarta Post, Busan, South Korea

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has met U.S. President George Walker Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks on how to enhance Indonesia's defense capabilities and of ways to contain the bird flu outbreak.

The meetings were held separately on the sidelines of the two-day Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Busan, South Korea, on Saturday.

In a 30-minute meeting with Bush early in the morning, Susilo discussed a plan by the United States to resume full military ties with Indonesia after the U.S. Congress issued a bill to revoke a decades-long arms embargo on Indonesia under certain conditions.

"I am not pleading for a resumption. We deserve it because we have undergone a long (process of) reform in our military, with an emphasis on respecting human rights and democracy," he told a news conference late on Saturday.

The United States scrapped military relations with Indonesia after the 1991 bloody killing of East Timorese demonstrators in the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili.

Under the U.S. Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act 2006 (HR 3057), a foreign military financing program may be made available to assist Indonesia, and licenses may be issued for the export of lethal defense articles for the Indonesian Military (TNI).

However, certain conditions were set for the assistance, including cooperation between the TNI and civilian judicial authorities and international efforts to resolve cases of gross violations of human rights in East Timor and elsewhere.

Indonesia will also be required to implement reforms to improve civilian control over the military.

However, Susilo said Indonesia would no longer rely on just one or two countries for military equipment as it had done for decades. He did not specify to which countries he was referring.

"Past experience shows that relying too much on these kinds of countries creates difficulties. We can't use their equipment at times most needed. But we are not deserting them. We just need to balance the system," he added.

Speaking about his meeting with President Putin later on Saturday, Susilo said that cooperation with Russia in the defense sector should be seriously explored, as Indonesia was seeking alternative suppliers of military equipment.

The two leaders have agreed to assign officials for intensive negotiations in order to set up a joint production facility for certain sophisticated military equipment in Indonesia.

The two sides are expected to meet twice for negotiations before Susilo visits Russia next year to close several deals in the defense sector and energy.

"Aside from cooperation in the defense industry, President Putin also offered cooperation in the field of military training and exchange of officers," Susilo said, while conveying his amazement at the capability of the Sukhoi fighter jets Indonesia had bought from Russia in 2003.

Susilo and Bush also discussed the role the United States could play in helping Indonesia contain bird flu, and prevent the virus from spreading among humans.

"The discussion with President Bush was very constructive. Among the issues discussed was on the U.S. assistance in providing Indonesia with vaccines and other protective facilities to contain the disease," he added.

The two also discussed the progress of reconstruction in tsunami-stricken Aceh, with Bush asking about details of Indonesia's recent success in sealing a peace deal with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

Bush also reiterated the U.S. stance on supporting the unity of Indonesia, insisting that he would back the country in any way to settle the problem of the separatism movement in Papua province peacefully.

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Spain, Indonesia to Forge Defence Ties

JAKARTA, Nov 21 Asia Pulse/Antara - Indonesia and Spain have agreed to cooperate in the development of defence industries, Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono said on Friday.

"The cooperation will involve PT Pindad (state-owned ordnance manufacturing industry), state aircraft-making company PT Dirgantara Indonesia (DI) and PT PAL (state ship-building company)," he said after a meeting with his Spanish counterpart, Jose Bono.

He said the cooperation would include developing warplanes, armored vehicles and warships.

He said the two nations agreed to formalize their agreement in a protocol, mainly in the defence sector.

Bono, meanwhile, said his country was assessing many possibilities to increase cooperation with Indonesia in the defence field.

He said with its population of more than two hundred million spread over thousands of islands, Indonesia had good potential for such cooperation. The two countries had actually been cooperating with one another in other fields for 25 years such as through Spanish participation in humanitarian operations in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD) in the aftermath of the tsunami.

Indonesia, Spain to Revive Cooperation in Aircraft Industry

JAKARTA, Nov 21 Asia Pulse/Antara - Indonesia and Spain plan to revive cooperation in the development of the aircraft industry that had stopped following the economic crisis hitting the country in 1997, a military (TNI) spokesman said here on Friday.

Major General Kohirin Suganda, chief spokesman for the TNI Headquarters, said Indonesia had cooperated with CASA of Spain in the building of light CASA 212 aircraft currently still used by the Indonesian military.

The cooperation came to a halt following the economic crisis in mid-1997 which had also seriously affected the Indonesian aircraft manufacturer PT IPTN (now PT Dirgantara Indonesia), he said.

"The Spanish government has offered Indonesia to revive the cooperation," he said following a meeting between Military Chief General Endriartono Sutarto and Spanish Defence Minister Jose Bono.

He said TNI would study the prospects of not only building aircraft, but also manufacturing fire arms as rifles and pistols, as well as combat and tactical vehicles.

He said during the meeting Minister Jose Bono also expressed his government's appreciation to TNI for its success in carrying out humanitarian operations in Aceh following the devastating tsunami, including coordination of foreign military personnel participating in the rescue and relief efforts.

He said the Spanish minister planned to visit Aceh to observe the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in the region.

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Joyo Indonesia News Service
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