Subject: FEER: U.S.-Indon Military Ties on Hold

Far Eastern Economic Review Issue cover-dated September 30, 2004


U.S.-Indonesian Military Ties on Hold

The United States Congress won't support the resumption of a military-exchange programme with Indonesia for now, even though some in the Bush administration are in favour of restoring such ties shortly after the Indonesian presidential inauguration on October 20. Federal Bureau of Investigation officials did not answer enough questions at a September 17 briefing to convince congressional aides that the training programme for Indonesian military officers should resume. A draft bill approved by key committees in both the Senate and the House of Representatives says the programme can only restart if the administration verifies that Indonesia is cooperating in the investigation of the murder of two American teachers in Papua province two years ago. "This is an ongoing investigation and we won't know if the Indonesian military has fully cooperated until the investigation is completed," says Tim Rieser, an aide to Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy. "Why remove the leverage, the incentive to cooperate, before the investigation has run its course?" In late June, the U.S. government charged Anthonius Wamang, a member of a Papuan separatist movement, with the murders. But congressional aides along with Indonesian and U.S. human-rights groups want the FBI to continue its investigation because of what they say is evidence implicating the Indonesian military in the killings.


Far Eastern Economic Review

Issue cover-dated September 30, 2004


Aid Cheer for Indonesia and Cambodia

The United States Senate Appropriations Committee surprised some observers in mid-September by voting to provide aid to the Indonesian navy and Cambodian security forces in its draft Fiscal Year 2005 Foreign Operations Bill. The committee has long prohibited military aid to Indonesia and Cambodia. The legislation proposes giving $6 million to help Indonesia protect its sea lanes against terrorists and pirates, provided that the navy isn't found to be involved in human-rights violations and is cooperating in investigations into past rights abuses. The draft bill proposes another $1 million to help Cambodia step up its border security against terrorists and drug smuggling. The Senate body also approved $2.5 million to help Thailand bolster its maritime security, on the condition that the U.S. secretary of state certifies that Bangkok is helping to promote democracy in Burma and is not forcibly repatriating refugees to Burma. The bill proposes providing $4 million to promote democracy and human rights in Thailand and $1 million to promote independent media in the country.

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