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Friday, 2 August, 2002, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Indonesia gets US aid against terror
Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda (l) and US Secretary of State Colin Powell
Mr Powell asked his Indonesian counterpart to do more
Secretary of State Colin Powell has said the United States will give Indonesia about $50m over several years to help the country fight terrorism.

Mr Powell also signalled his support for restoring military ties between the two counties, suspended since 1999 because of alleged human rights abuses in East Timor.

US aid breakdown
$31m to train police
$16m to build counterterrorism unit
$4m for army counterterrorism training

Almost all the money pledged will go to the Indonesian police. A ban on weapons sales and direct military assistance remains in place and has wide Congressional backing.

Mr Powell is in Jakarta as part of a six-nation trip around the region, in part to bolster support for the US-led war against terror.

He said: "I am pleased that as a result of the leadership shown by (Indonesian) President Megawati (Sukarnoputri), we are able now to start down a road towards greater military to military cooperation".

He said the US was "very satisfied and pleased" with Indonesia's efforts since the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington by al-Qaeda.

But he added: "We think that more can be done."

Correspondents say that the US views Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, as the weakest link in South East Asia's fight against terrorism.

But Jakarta has always played down the threat.

Resuming military ties

The foreign minister, Hassan Wirayuda, said: "The fact is that Indonesia is not Afghanistan and we don't believe that Indonesia will be a future Afghanistan."

He added that extremists were very much a minority in the country.

Mr Powell said that the US and Jakarta were beginning to normalise their military ties, although "we are not there yet".

The Pentagon is keen on closer ties to help in the international pursuit of terrorists, and also as a way to build ties with young, reform-minded members of the Indonesian military.

Last month a Senate committee voted to allocate $400,000 to resume training of civilian elements of the Indonesian Defence Ministry.

Mr Powell said he believed such training programmes helped "with respect to human rights issues and we should not cut off that opportunity".

But the US-based group Human Rights Watch has called on Mr Powell to make it clear that military assistance will only be given if there is progress in human rights in Indonesia.

The rights group said that there are widespread allegations that the Indonesian forces have helped to train radical militant groups.

It added that "until the Indonesian armed forces demonstrate commitment to accountability and civilian control, they will be an unreliable partner in fighting terrorism."

See also:

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12 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
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