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US, Indonesia to Resume Security Talks

A two-day meeting between top Indonesian and U.S. defense officials ended in the Indonesian capital Jakarta with an agreement to resume security talks.

A joint statement released at the conclusion of the talks says both nations have agreed on the need to focus on combined efforts to combat international terrorism and other trans-national threats.

The delegations also discussed a range of security issues, including piracy and military reforms.

Billed as the first "Indonesia-U.S. Security Dialogue," the two-day meeting held in Jakarta was attended by top defense officials. The U.S. side was headed by Peter Brookes, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs. Major General Sudrajat, from Indonesia's defense ministry, headed Jakarta's delegation.

Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri and President George W. Bush agreed to hold the discussions when Ms. Megawati visited Washington last year, shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

As leader of the country with the largest population of Muslims, Ms. Megawati was welcomed by President Bush, whose administration sees Indonesia as a key ally in the worldwide fight against terrorism.

U.S. Embassy officials said the agenda did not include any discussion on the resumption of full military ties between the two countries. Washington suspended ties with Indonesia after its armed forces were implicated in the carnage in East Timor in 1999 in the weeks surroundings its decision to break free from Indonesian rule.

Indonesia's Defense Minster Matori Abdul Djalil has accepted an invitation by the United States to visit Washington next year. A second round of official talks is expected to be held in the first half of 2003.