Indonesia's president sees war against corruption

Indonesia's war on corruption will not see significant results for at least a generation, the country's president said Tuesday, underscoring the extent of graft in the sprawling country.

Speaking to Asian police officers meeting in the capital, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono also warned that Muslim militants blamed for a spate of bloody suicide bombings since 2000 remained a threat despite recent arrests.

"We have to remain vigilant about the security environment ahead of us," said Yudhoyono, appealing for help from the officers. "We have won many battles, but not yet the war (against terrorism)."

Yudhoyono won election in 2004 vowing to fight both terrorism and corruption.

The former general is considered by analysts to have made progress on both fronts, but is seen by some critics as too timid in the anti-graft fight.

"Fighting corruption is a long time effort," he said. "I might be overoptimistic but I believe that corruption can be significantly reversed in one generation."

A slew of former ministers and regional and national state officials are either currently on trial or have been sentenced to prison terms for corruption crimes since 2004, but vast areas of the state bureaucracy remain graft-ridden.


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