/

/

 

05 January 2006

U.S.-Indonesia Military Ties Moving Toward Full Normalization

But U.S. presses for accountability on past human rights abuses

The United States is taking steady steps toward full normalization of military relations with Indonesia, according to a State Department release.

Responding to a question taken at the January 3 press briefing, the State Department's Office of the Spokesman said the United States is resuming "selected areas" of military assistance for Indonesia, noting President Bush's declaration that "normal military relations would be in the interest of both countries."

The Bush administration, the State Department says, "considers the relationship between the United States and Indonesia, the world's third largest democracy, to be of the utmost importance….  As the world's most populous majority-Muslim nation, Indonesia is a voice of moderation in the Islamic world."  The State Department also noted Indonesia's "key role in guaranteeing security in the strategic sea lanes" and the progress it has made "in advancing its democratic institutions and practices in a relatively short time."

At the same time, the United States "remains committed to pressing for accountability for past human rights abuses, and U.S. assistance will continue to be guided by Indonesia's progress on human rights, democratic reform and accountability," the State Department said.

For more on U.S. policies, see East Asia and the Pacific and Human Rights.

Following is the text of the statement:

(begin text)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
January 4, 2006

QUESTION TAKEN AT THE JANUARY 3, 2006 PRESS BRIEFING

Indonesia - Military Assistance

Question:  What is the status of military relations with/assistance to Indonesia?  Are there any remaining restrictions?

Answer:  On November 16, 2005, Under Secretary for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns, under authority delegated by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, determined that it was in the national security interests of the United States to waive the restrictions on the provision of Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and defense exports to Indonesia, pursuant to Section 599F(b) of the FY 2006 Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act (P.L. 109-102).  There are no additional legislative restrictions on military relations that are specific to Indonesia.

The November decision allowed the United States to resume selected areas of military assistance for Indonesia.  It continued the process of military reengagement with Indonesia that included the Secretary's decision on February 25 to allow the resumption of International Military Education and Training (IMET), her May 25 decision to resume non-lethal Foreign Military Sales (FMS), and Presidents Bush's joint statement with President Yudhoyono in May that "normal military relations would be in the interest of both countries."  We expect that this fiscal year approximately 40 Indonesian military officers will be trained under the IMET program.

The Administration considers the relationship between the United States and Indonesia, the world's third largest democracy, to be of the utmost importance.  Indonesia plays a unique strategic role in Southeast Asia.  As the world's most populous majority-Muslim nation, Indonesia is a voice of moderation in the Islamic world.  It also plays a key role in guaranteeing security in the strategic sea lanes in Asia and is a leading member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.  Indonesia has made significant progress in advancing its democratic institutions and practices in a relatively short time.

In resuming FMF, the Administration plans to provide assistance for military programs and units that will help modernize the Indonesian military, provide further incentives for reform of the Indonesian military, and support U.S. and Indonesian security objectives, including counterterrorism, maritime security and disaster relief.  No decisions on specific assistance have been made at this point.  Specific assistance will be determined in consultation with the Indonesian government.  The U.S. remains committed to pressing for accountability for past human rights abuses, and U.S. assistance will continue to be guided by Indonesia's progress on human rights, democratic reform and accountability.  As with all countries, recipients of assistance are subject to vetting for human rights abuses.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

xml


This page printed from: http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2006&m=January&x=20060105140725ajesrom0.0166437&t=livefeeds/wf-latest.html