26 May 2005

US urged not to offer military assistance to Indonesia

10:19 am on 26 May 2005

A wide range of US organizations have urged President George Bush not to offer more military assistance to Indonesia when he meets President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono later today.

Indonesia's President is in Washington for his first White House meeting since taking office last year.

The talks are expected to focus on the prospect of a full normalization of military ties between the two countries.

In a letter to Mr Bush, 53 human rights, labour, religious, peace and other groups, called on the President to raise concerns about human rights violations by the Indonesia military in Papua, East Timor and other parts.

The groups say if the Bush administration truly held democratic reform as a top priority, then it would not prop up the Indonesian military, the country's least democratic institution.

Washington has indicated a full return to full military cooperation is dependent on Jakarta's efforts to solve the 2002 killing of two American teachers in Papua province.

However, the Indonesian investigation has been reportedly hamstrung by the military who Indonesia police contend is not giving them access to soldiers.