Subject: TNI Chief Hopeful On US Military Cooperation [+Update JP: Kopassus Not In US-RI Pact]

also: update JP: Kopassus not in US-RI pact

BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific June 15, 2010

Indonesian army chiefs hopeful on US military cooperation

Text of report by Indonesian newspaper Kompas Cyber Media website (www.kompas.com) on 15 June

[Report by DWA: "Indonesia Will Not Go Begging to the US"]

The Indonesian government does not need to be too concerned with the issue of military cooperation with the United States, including the issue of decisions to move forward with full restoration of cooperation in joint military exercises between the two countries. The government, specifically the Department of Defence and the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI), will not try to plead with the Americans to reinstate the cooperation.

This was the opinion expressed by the Indonesian Minister of Defence Purnomo Yusgiantoro and the TNI Chief, General Djoko Santoso, accompanied by heads of the three TNI branches, before a working session of Commission I of the Indonesian Parliament (DPR) in Senayan, Jakarta on Monday, 14 June 2010. "The issue of Special Forces (Kopassus) exercises is not urgent. Actually, military cooperation between Indonesia and the United States has been going on since 2001, when they lifted their embargo on us. At that time, the two countries created the Indonesia-USA Security Dialogue, a forum that has met eight times since it was founded," said Yusgiantoro.

Tjahjo Kumolo of the Indonesian Democratic Party -Struggle (PDI-P) asked that the government be forthright in explaining the issue of the relationship, considering that several events have continued to be linked to the postponement of US President Barack Obama's visit to Indonesia. Tjahjo said that the government shouldn't need to go begging to the United States.

Yusgiantoro objected to the implication that the uncertainty surrounding the restoration of military cooperation, among other things, was behind the cancellation of the US President Barack Obama's visit to Indonesia.

"If you say that Obama cancelled his trip to Indonesia, among other things, because of the issue of Kopassus, I think that perception is wrong. Remember that Obama also cancelled his trip to Australia, one of the United States' allies including in the field of defence," said Yusgiantoro.

The TNI Chief, General Djoko Santoso, sounded a similar note. In fact, he said, military cooperation activities between the two countries have been increasingly frequent since 2008. However, he had to admit, no joint military exercises had involved Kopassus.

"Nevertheless, a number of high military and government officials from the United States have shown their interest in reviving cooperation with Kopassus. Let's hope they will succeed. There are still obstacles in the Congress there. Still, we don't want to go begging to them," said Santoso.

General Djoko Santoso also stressed that it was untrue that military cooperation with the United States had been impeded by several past incidents of violation of human rights.

Source: Kompas Cyber Media website, Jakarta, in Indonesian 15 Jun 10

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The Jakarta Post Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kopassus not in US-RI pact

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesian and US governments signed a defense agreement last Thursday that may help mend bilateral ties after a US military embargo but excluded specific mention of Indonesia's special forces.

The agreement established a framework for defense cooperation on logistics, joint training, officer exchange education programs, a security dialogue and equipment procurement, said Indonesian Defense Ministry spokesman I Wayan Midhio.

The agreement did not specify if the Indonesian Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) would be involved in joint operations or other activities.

Wayan told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that negotiators discussed the TNI (the Indonesian Military) in general but did not specifically discuss Kopassus. "Nevertheless, Kopassus is part of TNI," he said.

He said Kopassus's exclusion from the negotiations was a political decision. The US military would have to spend money to implement the agreement, which was banned by the US Congress as part of the military embargo.

The framework was signed last Thursday by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Policy Robert M. Scher and the Indonesian Defense Ministry's director general for defense strategy, Maj. Gen. Syarifudin Tippe, said a press release from the US Embassy in Jakarta.

The framework is "intended to integrate existing cooperative activities in the field of defense" and is "based on the principles of mutual respect, benefit and trust", the release said.

Kopassus has been barred from participating in joint military activities because of human rights violations in West Papua and Timor Leste (then East Timor), which led to a US military embargo.

International relations experts Makmur Keliat at the University of Indonesia and Teuku Rezasyah at Padjadjaran University in Bandung said that a fair and mutual agreement should allow Kopassus to join joint military exercises.

Makmur said Kopassus could improve professionalism through joint military training.

"Human rights violations should not be an obstacle to defense cooperation," Makmur told the Post. "Both legal proceedings and [defense] cooperation should proceed side-by-side. How do we make it happen? That is what must be specified in the framework," he said.

Rezasyah said Indonesia had completed a vast defense reorganization and already punished human rights violators in the military.

However, history shows that it was former US president Gerald R. Ford and former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger who gave the Indonesian government a "green light" to send Kopassus to East Timor and ignored the use of violence, Rezasyah said.

"The Indonesian government should not let itself be lulled by the US' promises in advance of [US President Barack] Obama's visit in November," he said.

The US should also guarantee that the framework will help Indonesian weapons manufacturers, such as PT Pindad, PT PAL, IPTN and PT Dirgantara Indonesia, he added.


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