|Subject: U.S. State Dept. Briefing:
Excerpts pertaining to Indonesia & arms sales
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING October 19, 2001
FOREIGN PRESS CENTER BRIEFING WITH JAMES KELLY, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS
TOPIC: U.S. FOREIGN POLICY IN THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION
LOCATION: THE WASHINGTON FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C.
[Excerpts pertaining to Indonesia only]
MODERATOR: This gentlemen -- (off mike).
Q Mr. Secretary, I am Sujono, from Indonesian Suara Merdeka. I'm just wondering about the prospect of restoring military-to- military relations between the U.S. and Indonesia. Thank you.
MR. KELLY: Well, I think the U.S.-Indonesian military relations should be rebuilding shortly. I don't want to get the words wrong, but the embargo against any kind of training or military sales I think was lifted. But there are still very sharp limitations on these from our Congress. There remain issues from the past, as required in our law. So I think this is going to be a slow and long process.
But as I've testified before Congress, I think the Indonesian armed forces, the so-called TNI, are -- have been part of the problem in Indonesia in the past, but they're also a part of the solution for Indonesia in the future. And we do not want to be completely out of touch with them, and so we hope to rebuild that.
MODERATOR: There's time for two more questions. The lady in back, in the red sweater. (Off mike.)
Q Mr. Secretary, Dawn Martin (sp) from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Can you share with us how important you think the links of terrorism are in Indonesia? How important? How much money is coming out of there? What kind of succor is being given from Indonesia? What do you expect the government to do, and what do you think their record on this front is so far?
MR. KELLY: There -- al Qaeda operates in many places in the world, including the USA, and has in the past, as we know to our horror, and there have been some links of al Qaeda with various countries in Southeast Asia -- of Malaysia, Philippines, and, I think, also Indonesia, to some extent.
There is also a fundamentalist Islamic movement that exists there that is hard for me to judge how major it is from within.
So, that said, I think there is quite a lot of controversy. Our ambassador met with many Islamic groups recently, and I think that was good news, but they all told him, without exception, that they thought we should stop any of our combat activity in and around Afghanistan. And we haven't finished our job there and we're not able to do that. So I think there are some differences. And the Indonesian government's response to these has been varied. We have been very happy, though, that despite some pretty serious threats, that our diplomatic properties and people have been well protected recently.
This is a part of the rebuilding of Indonesia. Indonesia deteriorated for a long time, and this process of democracy, in a country of that size and geography and complexity, is a very slow process. So I wouldn't want to be critical of the tough job the Indonesian government has got. I think in many respects they're doing a good job. But there's a terrorism threat to Indonesia and to others that I think still exists there, at least at some level.
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