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Outgoing US Ambassador to Indonesia Hails Good Relations between the Two Countries

The outgoing United States ambassador to Indonesia, Lynn Pascoe, hailed the good relations between the U.S. and Indonesia and the progress made during the last few years. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins in Jakarta has more.

Outgoing United States ambassador to Indonesia, Lynn Pascoe, told reporters in a farewell news briefing that relations between Jakarta and Washington are strong and moving in the right direction.

He said, "I think in the U.S.-Indonesian side, there have been enormous strides made in the last couple of years."

"I think that whether you talk about the military relationship or whether you talk about our dealings with other parts of Indonesia, our efforts to cooperate with Indonesia on global issues… it's been really quite positive and moving in a good direction," he added.

Pascoe said Indonesia had made enormous strides in its counterterrorism efforts and he noted Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's work to improve governance.

Indonesia, a secular, democratic nation with the world's largest Muslim population, has been hit by a series of terrorist attacks in recent years, blamed on the al-Qaida- inspired Southeast Asia terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.

Jakarta has pursued Muslim militants, arresting more than 300 and sentencing several to death.

This helped make Indonesia a more important country for U.S. diplomacy, as Washington saw the country as a key link in its War on Terror.

The Yudhoyono presidency has helped calm the rhetoric over fractious issues, such as resumed U.S. military aid to Indonesian armed forces tarnished by human rights allegations.

As Indonesia emerged from its years of political strife into a more stable era, so too did U.S.-Indonesian relations. Pascoe noted he has seen the links between the two countries grow.

The outgoing U.S. ambassador is to become head of the United Nation's department of political affairs.