Subject: RI, East Timor commanders agree to boost military cooperation

BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific

September 9, 2009

Indonesian, East Timor commanders agree to boost military cooperation

Text of report by Indonesian government-owned news agency Antara website

[Unattributed report: "TNI And Timor Leste's Military Step Up Cooperation"]

Dili (Antara News) -Indonesia's and Timor Leste's military chiefs agreed here on Thursday to step up cooperation between the two countries' armed forces.

The agreement was reached when Indonesian Armed Forces [TNI] Commander Djoko Santoso met with his Timor Leste counterpart, Brig-Gen Taur Matan Ruak, at the latter's headquarters in Tositolu, Dili.

"The cooperation will cover education, training, capacity building and other things ," Gen Djoko Santoso said.

Djoko said his visit to Timor Leste was significant because it was proof that relations between the two countries were continuously improving.

The TNI commander, who came to Timor Leste at Brig-Gen Matan Ruak's invitation, was accompanied by a number of high ranking TNI officials including Military Are IX/Udayana commander, Maj-Gen Hormangaradja Pandjaitan.

The TNI delegation arrived at Dili's Nicolau Lobato international airport at 9.45am local time aboard a plane from the Indonesian Air Force 17 Squadron based in Bali.

Brig-Gen Matan Ruak expressed pleasure and pride about Gen Djoko's visit which proceeded in an atmosphere of warm friendship and brotherhood. It marked the first time for a TNI commander to vist Timor Leste since it declared its independence from Indonesia.

Security was tight but people in Dili and from surrounding areas enthusiastically geeted the TNI delegation.

A Timor Leste source said the invitation was actually sent to TNI Headquarters a few years ago. "We invited the TNI commander several years ago but it is only now that it could be met," the source said.

Gen Djoko Santoso was welcomed with a military ceremony at the Timor Leste armed forces headquarters. Brig-Gen Matan Ruak accompanied Gen Djoko throghout the four-hour visit.

"We have agreed the two countries' governments would facilitate various cooperation activities and so an inventory of the needs for it will soon be made," Gen Djoko Santoso said.

To the reporters, Brig-Gen Matan Ruak said, "the visit is very significant for improving and boosting the relations between the two countries. We were thankful to the Indonesian government as well as our government for the opportunity," he said.

Regarding the cooperation plan Brig-Gens Matan Ruak said that it would also cover cooperation in border areas and capacity building.

Source: Antara news agency, Jakarta, in Indonesian 1033 gmt 4 Sep 09

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