24 August 2011

RI, Timor Leste ink defense deals

Turning a new leaf: Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao (left), who is also the country’s minister for defense and security, and Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro (right sitting) sign a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation in Dili, Timor Leste, on Friday. Courtesy of the Indonesian Defense Ministry

Timor Leste and Indonesia on Friday agreed to improve and widen bilateral relations through defense cooperation. 

Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro and Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão — who is also his country’s defense and security minister — signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the Timor Leste capital of Dili, the Indonesian Defense Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

The cooperations includes bilateral dialogue and consultation on strategic and security issues, information exchange on defense issues, improved cooperation between the armed forces of both countries and cooperation on logistics support.

Purnomo said the MoU was an effort to strengthen relations between both governments and support Timor Leste’s efforts to develop its defense capabilities.

The countries will set up the Timor Leste-Indonesia Defense Joint Committee which aims to coordinate and monitor various activities carried out under the MoU based on the principles of equality, mutual benefit and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The president of Timor Leste’s National Parliament, Fernando Lasama de Araújo, welcomed the agreement and said the parliament would soon ratify it.

Araújo said he expected Indonesia to help train Timor Leste military and police officers in Indonesia.

Purnomo also witnessed Saturday the demobilization of the Falintil militia that fought for Timor Leste’s independence from Indonesia. He also visited the Seroja Heroes Cemetery for Indonesian soldiers.

Purnomo’s entourage included former vice president Try Sutrisno, Indonesian Military (TNI) chief of staff Adm. Agus Suhartono, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu and representatives from state weapons manufacturer PT Pindad, state shipbuilder PT PAL, state aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia and state pharmaceutical firm PT Kimia Farma.

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