Washington - The United States is set to resume a controversial programme to train Indonesian military personnel that was suspended in 2002. The Bush administration hopes that the renewed cooperation under the International Military and Educational Training (IMET) programme will lead to greater efficiency in the battle against terrorism inSoutheast Asia.
The training exercises under IMET have been suspended since the 2002 deadly ambush of a group of American school teachers near Timika inIndonesia's Papua province. There were claims that the Indonesian military, the TNI, had a hand in the attack.
Last June, however, an investigation by a joint US-Indonesian team revealed that a local Papuan rebel had been responsible for the attack and absolved the Indonesian army of any blame.
The newUSSecretary of State, Dr Condoleeza Rice, told Congress during her confirmation hearings recently that US$600,000 had already been allocated for the training programme this year.
A senior fellow atWashington'sInstituteofNational Strategic Studies, Mr James Przystup, told The Straits Times: "Re-establishing ties with theIndonesiamilitary will enhance prospects for increased co-operation in the administration's efforts to deal with a threat posed by international terrorism."
* US releases funds to renew military ties with Indonesia (The traits Times, Jan 31)