Subject: JP: Australia, Indonesia discuss military ties

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

The jakarta Post [online] May 24, 2002

Australia, Indonesia discuss military ties

JAKARTA (JP): Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Friday that "building trust and confidence" were the keys to restoring Indonesian-Australia military ties, according to a report.

Susilo met with Australian Prime Minister Alexander Downer on Friday to discuss the restoration of military and defense ties between the two countries. These ties were severed because of anumber of contentious issues, most notably East Timor.

"I told (Downer) that if we are talking about defense cooperation, which was cut off due to the East Timor matter -- which is even now still an unresolved problem for both Indonesia and Australia -- that (ties) can be mended, starting with the building of mutual confidence and trust between the twocountries," Susilo said as quoted by Antara.

Susilo and Howard also discussed Indonesia's domestic problems on Friday and how to resolve conflicts in Maluku, Aceh and Papua, as well as the steps Indonesia was taking to combat terrorism.

Regarding Maluku, Susilo said the Indonesian government was working on a fair and just resolution to end the conflict, as well as formulating stern policies to crack down on those instigating violence in the province.

In dealing with separatism in Papua and Aceh, the Indonesian government has already given both provinces special autonomy status, he added.

"Australia as well as the rest of the international world supports our country in handling these domestic problems," Susilosaid.

Another point discussed at the meeting was a possible Pacific Island Forum, which would involve Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia and East Timor.

On terrorism, Susilo said he explained to Downer Indonesia's policies and the ongoing deliberation of an anti-terrorism bill.

"Indonesia's way of coping terrorism is different from that of Singapore or Malaysia's Internal Security Act. One thing is sure, we will not ignore the international call to combat terrorist threats," Susilo said. (edt)

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