US resumes military aid to Indonesia

The Bush administration has taken another step toward resuming full military to military relations with Indonesia. The decision was announced a day after a White House visit by Indonesian President &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Suslio Bambang Yudhoyono.

The United States restricted military aid to Indonesia more than a decade ago because of human rights concerns, and the Congress cut it off altogether in 1999 to protest the Indonesian army role in militia violence in East Timor.

But the relationship is being gradually restored amid growing anti-terrorism cooperation between the two governments, and Indonesian pledges, reiterated by President Yudhoyono to President Bush at the White House Wednesday, to reform the military.

The latest step was announced by State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher a day after the White House meeting. He said the administration is lifting a ban on direct sales of non-lethal military equipment by the Pentagon to the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Indonesian military, reports VOA News.

According to CNN News, the country has been hit by three major attacks against Western targets by Muslim terrorists, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, most of them international tourists.

As a result, the United States is seeking to resume full ties with Indonesia's military, banned since 1999 after Indonesian troops devastated the province of East Timor following a U.N.-organized independence referendum.

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