MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon. John Moore, MP
Minister for Defence
Thursday 29 October 1998 MIN209/98

Defence Relationship With Indonesia Unchanged

The Minister for Defence, John Moore, said that media reports that military training exercises involving Australian and Indonesian (ABRI) forces had been abandoned, were incorrect. The Minister said that the Chief of the Defence Forces has advised that exercises involving the SAS and Indonesia¶s Kopassus special forces have been deferred by mutual agreement with the Indonesian Government. Exercise Night Falcon, an Australian SAS exercise, was to have been conducted for the first time in Indonesia in May 1998. This was deferred in June due to the deteriorating political and economic situation in Indonesia in the first half of this year. The dates for Exercise Kookaburra and Exercise Komodo, scheduled for November this year, have also been rescheduled to a later date, yet to be decided. These are reciprocal Australia-Indonesia training exercises involving Australian SAS troops deploying to Indonesia for basic special forces infantry skills training, and a concurrent deployment by Kopassus troops to Swanbourne for counter-hijack training. These exercises have been conducted annually since 1993. ³I am advised that the Exercises have been deferred in the light of budget cuts imposed by the Indonesian Government on ABRI training and by ABRI¶s priority requirement for restructuring of Kopassus. ³These are internal matters for the Indonesian Government and its defence force. I understand that the Indonesian Government is concerned about improving the professional standards and accountability of its Special Forces units, and this should be acknowledged as a positive move forward,´ said Mr Moore. It is expected that training exercises involving the Australian Defence Force and Kopassus will resume, once Indonesia¶s internal reform processes have been completed and the ABRI advises it is ready to proceed.

Chris Wordsworth ² Media Adviser ² Phone 02 62777800 Fax 02 62734119 Email: wordsworth@ozemail.com.au

Mobile 0419 982482

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