WASHINGTON - Indonesia has not invited U.S. troops onto its territory to help fight terrorism. But top U.S. and Indonesian officials have voiced eagerness to re-establish military-to-military relations. Indonesian visiting Defense Minister Matori Abdul Djalil said Monday there is no need for American troops to enter Indonesia to root out terrorists.
After talks at the Pentagon with U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the Indonesian official said his country's security forces can deal with any terrorist problem. "We remain confident in the ability of our national police and the military to deal with these threats," he said. But Mr. Rumsfeld and the Indonesian Defense Minister both made clear their desire for closer military cooperation, effectively suspended since 1999 over Indonesian human rights violations in connection with East Timor's decision to break from Indonesian rule. Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters that Indonesia is an important moderate Muslim state and he believes it is time for Congress to ease the restrictions that have cut off military training and arms sales.