Subject: AFP: Indonesia and US navy to hold first joint exercise in four years

Indonesia and US navy to hold first joint exercise in four years

Tue Mar 29, 9:48 AM ET

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesian and US navies will hold their first joint exercise in four years in the Java Sea in July after Washington lifted military restrictions, an Indonesian navy spokesman said.

Lieutenant Colonel Guntur Wahyudi said the program, dubbed Cooperation Afloat, Readiness and Traning (CARAT), would involve 1,500 navy personnel from both countries.

"The exercise ... will resume after it was halted in 2000 due to the US embargo," Wahyudi was quoted as saying by the national news agency Antara.

A navy officer told AFP that apart from conducting naval exercises, personnel of both countries would fix roads and provide free medical treatment for the people in Surabaya, the capital of East Java province.

The CARAT initiative, which began in 1995, also sees the US hold joint annual exercises with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

The United States decided in late February to resume training members of the Indonesian armed forces.

The US imposed restrictions on contacts after the Indonesian military in November 1991 massacred pro-independence protesters in East Timor.

The restrictions were further tightened in 1999 after the Indonesian army was accused of being behind the killing of about 1,500 people in East Timor in an unsuccessful bid to prevent the territory from gaining independence.

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