Subject: Bush Promises Continued Help For Indonesia

also: Indonesian leader hopeful of full military ties after talks with Bush; Indonesian leader vows to hunt down rebel chief linked to American killings; White House Watch: Tsunami Aid Builds US-Indonesia Ties

Bush Promises Continued Help For Indonesia

WASHINGTON, May 25 (AP)--President George W. Bush on Wednesday promised
Indonesia continued help toward democracy and tsunami recovery and held out hope
that the two countries' militaries would resume full ties for the war on terror.

"Indonesia and America may be on the opposite sides of the ocean, but we have
a lot in common," Bush said at an East Room celebration of Asian Pacific
American Heritage Month, which Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
attended after the leaders' Oval Office meeting.

"We're both among the world's largest democracies. We both share a belief
that our great diversity is a source of strength," Bush said.

The U.S., concerned about al-Qaida gaining a foothold in Indonesia , views
the archipelago nation foremost as an important ally against Islamic militant
groups in Asia. Muslim terrorists have carried out three major attacks against
Western targets in Indonesia , including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202
people, most of them foreign tourists.

As a result, the U.S. is seeking to resume full ties with Indonesia 's
military, banned since 1999 after Indonesian troops devastated the province of East
Timor following a U.N.-organized independence referendum.

Many citizens of the world's most populous Muslim nation are suspicious of
the U.S. because of the Iraq war, its policies toward the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict and its anti-terror steps after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But
Yudhoyono said he hoped for full normalization of the U.S.-Indonesia military
relationship, and he knew his military needed to reform to get there.

"I do hope that in the future we are moving ahead" for full normalization of
military-to-military relations with the U.S., Yudhoyono said.

Recently, there have been joint anti-terror exercises and Washington restored
a training program for Indonesian officers. Bush said those moves would lead
to more.

"The president told me he's in the process of reforming the military, and I
believe him," Bush said. "So this is a first step toward what will be fuller
mil-to-mil cooperation."

U.S. officials have insisted that Indonesia first bring to justice those
responsible for the shooting deaths three years ago of two American schoolteachers
in the eastern province of West Papua. An FBI probe led to a U.S. grand jury
indictment of an Indonesian civilian, Anthonius Wamang, who hasn't been
captured. He was described as a pro-independence guerrilla, but separatist activists
maintain he was a military informer.

Indonesia 's military has long been accused of human rights violations.

The country has endured a turbulent transition to democracy since dictator
Suharto's downfall in 1998. Yudhoyono, a U.S.-educated general, was elected in
October in Indonesia 's first direct presidential elections. Washington had
preferred Yudhoyono over his predecessor, Megawati Sukarnoputri, because he was
expected to be more active in the war on terror.

Bush praised Yudhoyono's leadership of his country after the devastating Dec.
26 tsunamis that killed at least 126,000 people in Indonesia , and 48,000 in
10 other countries in the Indian Ocean basin.

"By acting with skill and courage, Mr. President, you helped bring your
country together in a time of great crisis," Bush said.

Bush also pointed to the $950 million he has proposed in U.S. spending on
tsunami relief efforts, most earmarked for Aceh, Indonesia . The U.S. military
arrived on the scene within days, flying dozens of helicopter missions to
distribute lifesaving medicines and food and positioning a hospital ship off
Indonesia 's shores.

"Providing relief, our country has really, I hope, showed that we're a friend
when you've got a problem," Bush said.

Yudhoyono expressed thanks "from a grateful nation halfway around the world."

"America has every reason to be proud for what your government, your citizens
and your volunteers have done for the tsunami victims," he said.

------------------------

Agence France Presse
May 26, 2005

Indonesian leader hopeful of full military ties after talks with Bush

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono assured US President George W.
Bush he would step up military reforms, key to full normalization of
bilateral defense ties frozen more than a decade ago due to human rights abuses.

"The president told me he's in the process of reforming the military, and I
believe him," Bush told reporters after their talks at the White House, with
Yudhoyono beside him.

The Indonesian leader said he discussed with Bush the normalization of
military-to-military ties, adding "we have to do more along with the reforms of the
military that were conducted in Indonesia.

"I do hope that in the future, we (will move) ahead for full normalization of
the military-to-military relations," said the reformist Yudhoyono on his
first White House visit since becoming the first directly elected leader of the
world's largest Muslim-populated nation last year.

Indonesia says it needs military hardware and training assistance from the
United States to revitalise its overstretched and poorly-equipped armed forces
guarding a vast archipelago.

The United States decided in February to resume training members of the
Indonesian armed forces a month after easing an embargo on the supply of some
aircraft spare parts to boost tsunami relief efforts.

But it made clear that full normalization of military ties was contingent on
Jakarta's efforts to solve the killing of two American teachers in 2002 and
its dealing with atrocities since 1991 in East Timor, before the former
Indonesian island province was granted independence.

The United Nations alleged that at least 1,400 people were murdered in
military-backed violence. Whole towns were razed.

In an apparent conciliatory move, Indonesia last week granted access to a UN
legal team formed to assess Jakarta's efforts to account for abuses during
East Timor's separation, despite earlier declaring their mission redundant.

Earlier this month, Admiral William Fallon, head of the US Pacific Command,
expressed optimism his country would soon resume full military cooperation,
saying Jakarta had made progress on human rights.

But more than 50 human rights and other groups appealed to Bush in a letter
this week not to offer military aid to Jakarta until it brings to justice
military officers behind the rights violations.

"The first priority should be on the reform of a violent, unaccountable
military in Indonesia," said Matt Easton of Human Rights First. "You cannot fight
terrorism effectively without standing up for justice."

Bush on Wednesday defended his administration's decision to restore the
military education training program for Indonesia.

"It makes sense that we have military-to-military exchanges, we want young
officers to come to the United States. We want exchanges between our military
corps, that will help lead to better understandings," Bush said.

Yudhoyono earlier Wednesday met the widow of one of the two American teachers
killed near a Freeport gold mine in Papua province, assuring her that justice
would be done.

The United States has charged in absentia rebel leader Antonius Wamang with
the ambush shootings.

US officials said Wamang was a commander of the separatist Free Papua
Movement, which has been fighting a sporadic and low-level guerrilla war since
Indonesia in 1963 took over the huge mountainous and undeveloped territory from
Dutch colonisers.

Police in Papua had earlier quoted a witness as linking Indonesian special
forces soldiers to the killings.

At the meeting with Petsy Spiers, the widow of teacher Nick Spiers, the
Indonesian leader assured that "efforts will not be spared to locate Wamang until
he's brought to justice," said Dino Patti Jalal, Yudhoyono's spokesman.

Yudhoyono also explained that Indonesia was cooperating closely with
Interpol, FBI and the police of Papua New Guinea in the hunt for Wamang.

-----------------------------

Indonesian leader vows to hunt down rebel chief linked to American killings

By  P. Parameswaran

WASHINGTON, May 25 (AFP) -- Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono vowed Wednesday to hunt down a guerrilla leader allegedly
behind the slaying of two American teachers which has become a
stumbling block to full normalization of military ties with the United
States.

The reformist Yudhoyono, who arrived late Tuesday for talks with US
President George W. Bush, gave the assurance to the widow of one of
the teachers during an emotional meeting in Washington.

The United States has charged Antonius Wamang with the ambush
shootings of the teachers near a Freeport gold mine in Papua province
in 2002.

US officials said Wamang was a commander of the separatist Free Papua
Movement, which has been fighting a sporadic and low-level guerrilla
war since Indonesia in 1963 took over the huge mountainous and
undeveloped territory from Dutch colonisers.

Police in Papua had earlier quoted a witness as linking Indonesian
special forces soldiers to the killings.

At the meeting with Petsy Spiers, the widow of teacher Nick Spiers,
the Indonesian leader assured that "efforts will not be spared to
locate Wamang until he's brought to justice," said Dino Patti Jalal,
Yudhoyono's spokesman.

Yudhoyono also explained that Indonesia was cooperating closely with
Interpol, FBI and the police of Papua New Guinea in the hunt for
Wamang, expressing the hope that the case would not be an obstacle to
improved US-Indonesia ties.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation, which had sent teams on
several trips to Papua, said there was no evidence to support any
theory that the Indonesian military participated in the attack.

Yudhoyono, on his first White House visit since taking the helm of the
world's largest Muslim-populated nation last year, is expected to
discuss with Bush the prospect of full normalization of military ties
as well as joint efforts to combat terrorism and the Iraq conflict,
diplomats and officials said.

The United States has made clear that full normalization of military
ties with Indonesia was contingent on Jakarta's efforts to solve the
killing of the two Americans and its dealing with atrocities in East
Timor.

In an apparent conciliatory move, Indonesia last week granted access
to a UN legal team formed to assess Jakarta's efforts to account for
abuses during East Timor's separation, despite earlier declaring their
mission redundant.

Earlier this month, Admiral William Fallon, head of the US Pacific
Command, expressed optimism his country would soon resume full
military cooperation, saying Jakarta had made progress on human
rights.

But more than 50 human rights and other groups appealed to Bush in a
letter not to offer military aid to Jakarta until it brings to justice
military officers behind rights violations in Timor and Indonesia.

"The first priority should be on the reform of a violent,
unaccountable military in Indonesia," said Matt Easton of Human Rights
First. "You cannot fight terrorism effectively without standing up for
justice."

The United States decided in February to resume training members of
the Indonesian armed forces. Washington in January also eased an
embargo on the supply of US military hardware to help boost tsunami
relief efforts.

The United States first imposed restrictions on military-to-military
contacts after the Indonesian army massacred pro-independence
protesters in East Timor in November 1991.

The restrictions were further tightened in 1999 after the Indonesian
army was accused of being behind killings in East Timor, which voted
that year to separate from Indonesia. The United Nations alleged that
at least 1,400 people were murdered in military-backed violence. Whole
towns were razed.

---
Dow Jones Newswires
May 25, 2005

Analysis

WHITE HOUSE WATCH: Tsunami Aid Builds US-Indonesia Ties

By ALEX KETO

WASHINGTON -- Primed with aid for the victims of last December's tsunamis,
ties between the U.S. and Indonesia appeared to be on the upward track
Wednesday, with President George W. Bush hosting Indonesian President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono.

Both leaders talked about the need to resume full military-to-military ties,
which were severed amid charges of human rights abuses by the Indonesian
military in East Timor in the 1990's.

However, as the Muslim country with the highest population in the world,
Indonesia is also a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.

"It makes sense that we have ... military-to-military exchanges. We want
young officers from Indonesia coming to the United States. We want there to be
exchanges between our military corps. That will help lead to better
understandings," Bush said at a photo opportunity at the White House.

Earlier in the week, U.S. officials said Indonesia needs to improve its
overall human rights record for a full resumption of military-to-military contacts
and Bush brought up the issue in his talks with Yudhoyono.

"The president told me he's in the process of reforming the military, and I
believe him. And so this is the first step toward what will be fuller
mil-to-mil cooperation," Bush said.

Bush pointed out that strong ties between Jakarta and Washington can only
have a beneficial effect in the war on terrorism because it will show the U.S.
working closely with a Muslim country.

"Indonesia will play a large role, and a significant role, in helping us
understand that great religions should coexist in a peaceful way," Bush said.

While there may be solid strategic reasons for revived ties between the U.S.
and Indonesia , Yudhoyono made it clear the real thaw came after the U.S.
rushed military personnel, supplies and money into Indonesia 's stricken regions
after the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunamis.

Noting that Indonesia was overwhelmed by the destruction wrought by the
waves, Yudhoyono said, "It was under this circumstance we experienced an incredible
display of global solidarity."

"It was during this desperate time that U.S. servicemen came and helped," he
added.

The Indonesian president noted that U.S. helicopters brought in food and
supplies to Indonesians cut off from aid and also helped evacuate the wounded for
treatment.

"America has every reason to be proud for what your government, your citizens
and your volunteers have done for the tsunami victims," Yudhoyono said.

Bush said the total cost of the aid extended so far to the tsunami victims
now stands at $850 million.

Bush Steps Up Rhetoric Against Stem Cell Bill

Following a vote in the House of Representatives on a bill that would allow
federal funding for stem cells harvested from embryos, Bush stepped up his
rhetoric against the measure and directly said he would veto the bill.

"I have made my position very clear on that issue. I believe that the use of
federal monies that end up destroying life is not... positive, it's not good,"
Bush said.

"The Congress has made its position clear, and I have made my position clear,
and I will be vetoing the bill if it passes the Senate," Bush said.

Until now, Bush has avoided saying publicly he would veto the bill, although
the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy warning that he
intended to.

The House approved the legislation, 238-to-194, on Tuesday. Although 50
Republicans broke ranks with their party on the issue, the vote margin wasn't
nearly large enough to override a presidential veto.

The bill at issue would allow federal funding for stem cells harvested from
embryos after August 2001. Bush set a policy that stem cells harvested before
that date could receive federal funds because the embryos had already been
destroyed.

For the president, opposing the use of taxpayer funds for research on stem
cells is a critical issue for many in his conservative base who oppose
destroying embryos.

The president also made it clear he has no intention of interfering with
private sector research on stem cells harvested from embryos.

"The issue that involves the federal government is whether or not we use
taxpayers' money that would end up destroying that life. That's the issue at
hand," Bush said.

"There is research going on in the private sector, there is a lot of research
on adult stem cells that appears to be very promising," he added.

Since taking office, Bush has yet to veto any bill.



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