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Indonesian President Makes Military Command Changes

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has made a major change in the Indonesian military command. The move is in keeping with his pledge to reform the powerful armed forces.

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has named Lieutenant General Djoko Santoso to replace General Ryamizard Ryacudu, an outspoken nationalist, as army chief of staff.

Mr. Yudhoyono also named army and navy chiefs - Vice Admiral Slamet Soebijanto and Vice Marshall Djoko Sujanto.

The promotion of the moderate General Santoso was expected, as Mr. Yudhoyono, a former general, has vowed to push military reform since winning office last October.

The military has lost some of its pervasive power since the downfall of the autocratic President Suharto in 1998, but still retains enormous influence.

Military spokesman Major-General Syafrie Syamsudin says the reorganization gives momentum for the reforms of the Indonesia military, the T.N.I.

"The reshuffle is a very good thing in regard of our need of our organization and then secondly in process of our regeneration in T.N.I. in connection with internal reform of T.N.I. itself," Mr. Syafrie says.

Mr. Syafrie says General Ryamizard will remain on active duty.

The general is known for his staunch nationalism and for his heavy-handed tactics in dealing with separatist movements in the provinces of Aceh and Papua.

General Santoso is seen as a moderate who helped broker a peace deal between Christians and Muslims in the country's restive Moluccas islands in 2002.

Mr. Yudhoyono says he has not yet decided who will replace armed forces commander General Endriartono Sutarto who wants to retire.