Defense cooperation suspended only for language training program: Minister

"It is not a total suspension of military cooperation, as we have heard from the mass media recently," Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto stated.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesias decision to suspend military cooperation with Australia will not cover all areas but only a cooperation program in language training.

"It is not a total suspension of military cooperation, as we have heard from the mass media recently," Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto stated during a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu at the Presidential Palace here, Thursday.

He noted that Military Chief General Gatot Nurmantyo could not attend the press conference, though he did not elaborate further.

"Recently, we have received reports on the suspension of military cooperation between Indonesia and Australia. I need to clarify here that it is not in line with the news report that all military cooperation programs have been halted," Wiranto remarked.

However, he acknowledged that the suspension of cooperation is for the language training program in Australia based on information from the foreign minister, Military chief, and defense minister.

The suspension was sparked by concerns over some "teaching materials and remarks at an army language training facility in Australia."

Wiranto remarked that the military cooperation would be continued after Australia took necessary measures to address the issues.

He claimed that the defense ministers of both countries had taken steps to resolve the issue.

"The (Australian) commander for language training has been suspended. The Australian defense minister has taken necessary measures and is awaiting bilateral meetings," Wiranto stated.

Australia is committed to maintaining good relations, friendship, and mutual trust, he affirmed.

He made assurance that the issue would not undermine bilateral relations between both nations.

"President Joko Widodo, this morning, has asserted that bilateral relations would remain steady and unabated," he pointed out.

Indonesia has suspended military co-operation with Australia following an incident at an Australian army training facility last year that hurt Indonesian sentiments.

Australias Defense Minister Marise Payne confirmed that the Indonesian government had raised concerns regarding some Australian "teaching materials and remarks" at the Perth base, which were reportedly witnessed by an Indonesian undergoing training there.

"Indonesia has informed Australia that defense cooperation would be suspended. As a result, some interaction between the two defense organizations has been postponed until the matter is resolved. Co-operation in other areas is continuing," she added.(*)

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