Subject: Indonesia, U.S. to formulate military cooperation

Indonesia, U.S. to formulate military cooperation

JAKARTA, April 20 (Xinhua) -- As one of the results of the fifth Indonesia-United States Security Dialog (IUSSD) held in Jakarta, the two countries agreed to formulate a military cooperation, such as in handling natural disasters and in peace keeping forces, a U.S. defense ministry official has said.

"We have learned much from the cooperation forged by Indonesia including in the handling of natural disasters," Antara news agency on Friday quoted Director for Asia and Pacific Affairs at the U.S. Defense Ministry, Brig Gen John Toolen, as saying.

Therefore, the handling of disasters will be one of the programs to be implemented by Indonesian and U.S. military as part of bilateral military operation, instead of cooperation in the waging of wars, Toolen said on Thursday after the signing of a joint statement on security cooperation between the two countries.

Toolen said the military cooperation between the two countries has produced an impressive program in view of the similar interests of the United States and Indonesia in combating terrorism, international crime and in maintaining sea security.

Meanwhile, Director General for Strategic Affairs at the Indonesian defense ministry Maj Gen Dadi Susanto said Indonesia hoped to establish a joint working group in the framework of the two countries' military cooperation.

The joint working group will cover some fields such as operations, intelligence, healthcare, personnel, law and others. Under the group, the scope of the cooperation will be wider with maintenance as focus.

The joint cooperation group, Dadi said, would also have a program on the establishment of more realistic cooperation like in joint training, disaster handling, operations, intelligence, healthcare personnel and law.

The dialog, which started on Wednesday, discussed a wide range of issues, including terrorism, the Iraq war and security assistance programs.

The two-day closed-door dialog is a follow up to a joint statement produced when Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited Washington in September 2001.

The annual dialog was initiated to reopen defense cooperation between the two countries, which had come to a standstill after the United States placed a military embargo on Indonesia following the violence in Timor Leste in 1999.


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------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service

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