Subject: AN: US, RI agree to enhance military cooperation 

Mar 14 20:06

US, RI agree to enhance military cooperation

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and the United States have agreed to enhance military cooperation, among other things through the international military education and training (IMET) program, visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said here Tuesdsy .

Speaking to the press after a closed-door meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda, Rice said military cooperation through the IMET program was normalized after the past few years had seen big changes happening in Indonesian democracy.

Clear proof of improvements in the development of democracy in Indonesia was the implementation of direct elections and Indonesia`s efforts to build good relations with Timor Lester, she said.

Communal life in Indonesia was marked by harmonious relations and tolerance among people of different faiths, ethnic origin and race, she said.

Therefore,the US intended to revive its military cooperation with Indonesia which was frozen for several years on account of alleged human rights abuses in Indonesia.

The US government on November 22, 2005 announced that it would provide an aid package in several sectors for the Indonesian military. The assistance was actually meant to modernize military equipment and strengthen RI-US cooperation in fighting terrorism and the safeguarding Indonesia`s territorial waters. In the meantime, the IMET program was resumed in February, she noted.

Rice said the US believed that the reforms taking place in the Indonesian military were a good and that her country would be able to benefit from their positive impact by forging military cooperation ties.

The US State Secretary also said like cooperation in the economic, health and educational fields, military cooperation was one way to enhance the two countries` bilateral relations which had been in lexistence for a long time.

Rice hoped US cooperation with Indonesia in many fields could be further improved as Indonesia was playing a significant role in the world as a country where harmnious inter-religious, inter-ethnic and inter-racial life was well-maintained.

She also expressed hope that Indonesia`s role in representing moderate Islam could be further increased so as to make a valuable contribution to the settlement of conflicts in the world.(*)


Mar 14 13:55 Indonesian and US navies conduct counter-terrorism exercise

Manado (North Sulawesi Province) (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Navy and its U.S. counterpart are conducting a joint exercise on Small Craft Counter Terrorism Maritime Interdiction Techniques on Sulawesi waters from March 12 to 18, 2006.

The joint exercise included theory, discussions and field maneuver, First Admiral M Eddy Moerdijanto, commander of the Bitung naval fleet, said here on Tuesday.

Both countries` navies shared experiences in dealing with terrorism and other maritime crimes such as piracy and poaching, Moerdijanto said.

The U.S. Navy sent two MK-V special operation crafts with 20 personnel on board in the exercise. Meanwhile, the Indonesian Navy involved four warships, namely Patola, Siau, Patkamla and Labuhan, with a total 175 crew members.

Moerdijanto hoped that one day Indonesia would own MK-V craft with modern equipment to guard Indonesian waters. Malaysia has owned similar craft to patrol the Malacca Strait, he added.

According to the Indonesian admiral, the joint exercise was a reflection of the strengthening bilateral relations between Indonesia and the United States of America.

"The Indonesian Government and the United States believe that we need to intensify cooperation in the improvement of professional skills," he said.

Last week, both navies carried out a similar joint exercise on Tarakan waters, Kalimantan, to share experiences in dealing with various crimes on seas, according to a coordinator of the joint exercise, Lt. Col. M. Faisal.(*)

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