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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Indonesia swears in new military chief
Parade in Jakarta for the handover of command
The military once had a key role in running the country
The new chief of Indonesia's armed forces, General Endriartono Sutarto, has vowed that the military will stay out of politics.

"The role of the TNI (Indonesia's military) will only be on the defence front", he told reporters after a swearing-in ceremony at the presidential palace in Jakarta.

"The nation has a commitment that the TNI will not have a role in social (affairs) and politics, therefore we must look forward with that commitment", General Sutarto said.

New military commander Gen Sutarto shakes hands with President Megawati
Sutarto: considered a moderate among his peers
However he also warned that the army would not tolerate separatists in any part of the country.

He and other senior generals are credited with being instrumental in forcing President Megawati Sukarnoputri's predecessor, Abdurrahman Wahid, from office in July 2001.

They defied an order to impose a state of emergency that would have dissolved parliament after hostile lawmakers accused Abdurrahman Wahid of incompetence and corruption.

General Sutarto - who is 55 and a career soldier - replaces Admiral Widodo Adisutjipto, who is retiring.

The only candidate nominated for the top military job, he is regarded as a moderate among his peers.

He is a former head of the presidential guard under former president Suharto.

The 200,000-strong army has long been the most powerful institution within the military.

Its officers held many key non-military posts during Suharto's 32-year rule.

See also:

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22 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
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