Subject: AP: US, Indonesian military officers meet to work on anti-terror cooperation


Tuesday May 3, 1:07 PM

US, Indonesian military officers meet to work on anti-terror cooperation

U.S. and Indonesian military officers are meeting in the Indonesian capital to discuss ways to cooperate in the fight against Islamic terrorists in Southeast Asia, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said Tuesday.

The meetings, which will run through May 14, reflect the growing closeness between the two militaries after all contacts were cut in 1999 amid concern in Washington over Indonesian human rights abuses.

"The purpose of this exchange is to improve cooperation .... in the war on terror," said spokesman Max Kwak.

The Bush administration wants to resume full ties with the military in Indonesia, which is the world's most populous Muslim nation and a key country in the war on terror. Islamic militants with links to al-Qaida have launched three bloody attacks on western targets since 2002.

The armed forces of the two nations cooperated closely in the 1970s and 80s, during the military-backed regime of former Indonesian dictator Suharto. But Washington imposed a ban on military ties with Indonesia in 1999, after its troops devastated its former province of East Timor following a U.N.-organized independence referendum.

Moves to restore full ties got a boost after the Dec. 26 tsunami devastated much of Indonesia's Aceh province. Washington dispatched a Navy carrier group to the region, which cooperated closely with Indonesia's military in distributing aid and treating survivors.

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