Subject: Boyce: U.S. Can Work With Wiranto [+TNI Neutrality]

also: TNI chief to maintain his neutrality

U.S. can work with Wiranto if he wins Indonesian presidency: Boyce

JAKARTA, April 22 (Antara): The United States will be able to accept former military chief Wiranto if he is elected Indonesian president in the upcoming election even though he has being indicted in East Timor for crimes against humanity.

"We can work with anybody that comes out from a free (election) process," U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce said on Thursday.

Boyce made the remarks in response to reporters' questions on what the U.S. reaction would be if Wiranto won the presidential election on July 5.

Wiranto is the Golkar Party's presidential candidate after he trounced party leader Akbar Tandjung in a tense head-to-head vote early on Wednesday morning.

Boyce denied speculation that the U.S. was interfering in the process of selecting who was most suitable to be Indonesia's next president.

"We're not involved in selecting individual candidates, supporting or opposing individual candidates," Boyce said after planting a tree in the grounds of the U.S. embassy in commemoration of Earth Day on April 22.

"It's the election process that we care deeply about and it seems to be going very well."

Boyce further said that the U.S. had never blocked Wiranto from going there. "General Wiranto and anybody else is welcome to apply at any time and it is the application process that will determine whether someone will be granted a visa or not," he said. -end-

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TNI chief to maintain his neutrality

JAKARTA, April 22 (Antara): The Indonesian Military (TNI) chief reiterated on Thursday that he would maintain his neutrality with regard to political parties ahead of the July 5 presidential election.

"I don't want to be involved in politics. I'm maintaining my current position for the sake of the country," Gen. Endriartono Sutarto said at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force base.

"My position as military commander is more useful to the state than as vice president."

Endriartono recently turned down an offer from Golkar Party leader Akbar Tandjung to be his running mate in the presidential election.

He also said that he had received offers from the leaders of other parties, including Amien Rais of the National Mandate Party(PAN).

Two retired generals are running for the presidency -- the Democratic Party's Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Golkar's Wiranto, who surprisingly defeated Akbar in the party's presidential convention on Tuesday. -end-


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