|Subject: JP: Susilo to lobby U.S. on arms
Susilo to lobby U.S. on arms
Muninggar Sri Saraswati, The Jakarta Post/Jakarta
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono hopes to persuade U.S. legislators to withdraw the ban on the sale of U.S. military equipment and spare parts to Indonesia, which was imposed in 1991 due to the country's poor human rights record.
"Hopefully, the President can settle it as he is seen as a pioneer of democracy in the world's most populous Muslim nation," Minister of Defense Juwono Sudarsono said on Friday.
Susilo will depart for the U.S. on Tuesday for a three-day working visit as part of a two-week overseas trip that includes Japan and Vietnam.
An explanation by the President about ongoing reforms in various areas to help improve human rights conditions here is expected to convince the U.S. Senate and Congress to end the embargo.
The President will also explain to U.S. legislators the country's commitment to upholding human rights, including settling cases of gross human rights violations in East Timor in 1999 and the murder of two U.S. nationals on Aug. 31, 2002 in Papua.
Juwono said that some U.S. congresspeople would continue to push the Indonesian government to ensure justice was done in relation to both cases, adding that the U.S. government had no problems with the issue.
"Congress is very influential in (U.S. government) decision-making. (They) are being influenced by the media and non-governmental organizations," he said.
Indonesia has raised its expectations for a full resumption of military ties with the U.S. following the latter's decision to resume the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program with Indonesia.
Susilo's visit to the U.S. will be his first since becoming the president in October 2004. He is scheduled to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush, other top government officials including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Minister of Finance John Snow, and a number of CEOs of giant U.S. companies such as Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Newmont and Philip Morris.
After the U.S. visit, he will fly to Vietnam for a state visit and to Japan for a working visit.
The President's visit to Japan is expected to come up with a number of action plans aimed at improving business and the investment climate in Indonesia, boost trade and investment activities between the two countries, and to seek ways to start negotiations on the planned economic partnership agreement, which also covers a free-trade area scheme.
Daily Press Briefing Richard Boucher, Spokesman Washington, DC May 20, 2005
QUESTION: Richard, looking ahead to the visit of the Indonesian President next week, I'm well aware that Secretary Rice made the decision to resume IMET training with Indonesia and Secretary Powell made the decision to allow the sale of certain aircraft, spare parts, to Indonesia in the context of tsunami relief. Is there any discussion at present between the United States and Indonesia about resumption of a broader, more thoroughgoing mil-mil, you know, defense relationship and, if so, what would it take to allow for broader military cooperation?
MR. BOUCHER: The first issue is next week when the President of Indonesia comes. We'll have very broad talks on a lot of topics, areas of cooperation, tsunami relief, including our -- things like our military-to-military cooperation. As you noted, in recent months we've been able to sell spare parts for some C-130s so that they could get up and running for -- help the people affected by the tsunami. Secretary Rice made the decision to resume International Military Education and Training programs with Indonesia. That was based on a determination that Indonesia's new democratically elected government was acting on some of the human rights concerns that we've had in the cases that we've raised and discussed.
We want to see that process continue. I'm sure during this visit with Indonesian President and Indonesian officials, we'll discuss how to continue expanding the military-to-military relationship and that the steps that are needed to be able to do that on both sides, including the continuing progress on some of these human rights issues.
QUESTION: Are there any legislative impediments to expanding it or is it more just a case of what the administration feels they want to see the Indonesians do before you take steps?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, there are legislative requirements. I'm not sure -- I know that some of them -- I think I know of them, but I'm not sure. There are at least requirements that we be able to certify that they're taking action on some particularly prominent human rights cases that occurred. And we were able to do that sufficiently for the IMET program. But we'll want to make sure we can continue to do that.
Yeah. One more.
May 21 15:51 US WANTS MILITARY COOPERATIONS WITH RI TO CONTINUE
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New York (ANTARA News) - The United States wanted the improvement in its military cooperations with Indonesis would continue, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in Washington DC on Friday.
To the newsmen in the US capital city, Boucher said the improvement in military cooperations would be one of the topic of discussions during Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono`s visit to the US from May 24-27.
Boucher said US President George W Bush would discuss various issues with his Indonesian counterpart during their upcoming meeting in Washington DC.
"They are going to discuss a lot of issues, including military cooperations with Indonesia," Boucher said.
Boucher said that after a several-year hiatus following the alleged human rights violations by Indonesian forces in East Timor in 1999, the military cooperations between the two countries have been in sight during the past several months.
"The cooperation was marked with the selling of Hercules C-130s spare parts by the US to Indonesia several months ago for humanitarian assistance to the victims of December 26 tsunami in Aceh," Boucher said.
He also pointed out that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has ever said she was moving to reinstate US military training assistance for Indonesia as an important step toward restoring full military ties.
According to Boucher, resumption of full international military education and training was expected to strengthen Indonesia`s ongoing democratic progress and advance cooperation in other areas of mutual concern.
"I am certain that during the visit by the Indonesian president, we are going to discuss how to widen the military cooperations and how to take measures which are needed by both parties in forging the human rights progress," he added.
In his three-day visit to the United States, President Yudhoyono will meet with his US counterpart, George W Bush, at White on May 25, for the second time after the two state leaders met in Santiago, Chile, during APEC Summit in November last year.
Yudhoyono will also meet with the members of US Congress, a number of US businessmen and the Indonesian community in Washington DC and its surroundings. (*)
MINISTER HOPES PRESIDENT CAN PERSUADE US TO LIFT ARMS EMBARGO
May 21, 2005 1:01am Asia Intelligence Wire
Jakarta, May 20 (ANTARA) - Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono expressed hope here Friday President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will be able to convince the US government to lift its arms embargo on Indonensia when he visits the US on May 24 to 27, 2005.
"God willing, the President will succeed in persuading the US administration," Juwono told reporters at the State Palace.
The minister, who recently visited the US briefing the Congress and Senate on Indonesian developments and reforms in the Indonesian military (TNI), said the US Congress and Senate were the most influential institutions that had to be persuaded to lift the embargo on lethal weapons for Indonesian jet fighters and warships.
Juwono hoped the President's visit will produce good results to solve the issue.
The US suspended military cooperation in protest against alleged gross human rights violations in East Timor following the 1999 independence vote there.
The TNI and its affiliated pro-autonomy militias were blamed for the atrocities which left hundreds killed and forced 250,000 East Timorese to seek refuge in neighboring West Timor. The massacre prompted human rights groups and activists to demand that the US Congress sanction the TNI.
Consequently, the US Congress restricted most military aid to Indonesia by refusing to fund the International Military and Training (IMET) program for TNI personnel in October 1992. In July 1993, after years of unrestricted weapons transfers to Indonesia, the State Department, under congressional pressure, blocked the transfer of US F-5 fighter planes from Jordan to Indonesia, citing human rights violations as one of the reasons.
But since 2000, the US gradually restored military ties but maintained an embargo on combat equipment.
Officials here claim the ban had hampered security authorities in maintaining peace and order and fighting terrorism.
US Naval Commander for the Pacific Admiral William Fallon said here last May 6 that Indonesia and the US would discuss the restoration of normal military cooperation.
"President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will visit Washington to discuss the restoration of normal military cooperation between Indonesia and the United States," Fallon said.
He said the military cooperation between the two countries should be mutually beneficial.
Fallon said that Indonesia and the US had long established a military cooperation, covering arms supply, and training of military personnel.
The cooperation, he said, contributed significantly to stability in the Asia and Pacific region.
"Details of the military cooperation will also be discussed by President Susilo with the related American authorities during his visit to Washington," he said.
However, Fallon could not tell when the US government would lift its military embargo on Indonesia.