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Indonesia scraps foreign troop pull-out deadline MEULABOH - Foreign forces including the US Navy can continue tsunami relief operations in Indonesia beyond a March 26 deadline, the government said as the disaster's overall death toll topped 168,000. In Thailand the leaders of Canada, Sweden, Norway and Finland, which all lost citizens in the tragedy, were discussing reconstruction and efforts to identify the dead, while non-governmental organisations said 2,500 Myanmese migrant workers may have died in one province alone.
The United States, whose military is playing a key role in aiding stranded victims in Indonesia's devastated Aceh province, meanwhile pledged to turn a new page in military ties with the world's largest Muslim nation in the wake of the December 26 tragedy. Indonesian Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono said an earlier demand by the country's vice president, Yusuf Kalla, that overseas troops quit within three months or "the sooner the better" was "not a deadline for involvement of foreign military personnel".
"It is a benchmark for the Indonesian government to improve and accelerate its relief efforts so that by March 26th the large part of the burden of the relief efforts will be carried by the Indonesian government and authorities on the ground," Sudarsono told reporters in Jakarta. Sudarsono, speaking after talks with US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and the commander for US forces in the Pacific, Admiral Thomas Fargo, said the overseas military could remain provided they scaled back their presence.
He acknowledged the US military in Aceh had been "the backbone of the logistical operations, providing assistance to all afflicted". Armed forces from the United States and several other countries have proved crucial to relief operations in Aceh on Sumatra island. Although Wolfowitz has said Washington was keen quickly to hand over its aid role, Kalla's earlier comments caused alarm among aid agencies struggling to bring help to thousands of people.
Wolfowitz said Sunday that Washington and Jakarta should focus on building "newer US and Indonesian defence relations". Wolfowitz suggested a military embargo, imposed in the wake of human rights violations by Indonesian troops in 1999 during East Timor's breakaway, could be eased. "We need to work closely with the Congress, these are issues that the (US) people feel deeply about but I hope they will perhaps see them in a new light, not only because of what we need to do in Aceh but equally importantly because of what is happening here on the political front," he said in Jakarta.
Eleven Indian Ocean countries were hit by the tsunamis, with India, Sri Lanka and Thailand also badly affected. The death toll rose to more than 168,000 Sunday with another 4,741 deaths reported in the town of Calang on the west coast of Aceh, taking Indonesia's total casualties to 114,978.


Link to related event Related event:
Boxing Day tsunami in Indonesia


Posted in Earthquake @ 16 January 2005 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

indahnesia.com lists all earthquakes that occur in Indonesia. For your convenience we display them in a list and a Google Map. It is as accurate and recent as you can imagine as we check for updates every few minutes. If an earthquake occurs in Indonesia, this is the place to check it out in the first place.






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