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Press Availability with Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz in Indonesia

Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
January 16, 2005

Presidential Palace

Jakarta, Indonesia


            JOURNALIST:  …so far the military can’t get the kind of …


            DEPUTY SECRETARY WOLFOWITZ:  Well, we recognize that problem, in fact, I can say your ambassador mentioned it to me when I, the very first day when I went to sign the condolence book at the embassy, and we were working on it when Secretary Powell came here I think he informed your President that we thought we had a near-term solution and we have in fact found some funds to provide spare parts.  There are now American technicians working here in Jakarta with your technicians to begin repairing more of those C-130s so that that need can be met increasingly by Indonesian aircraft.  And I think it’s a sign of how people on both sides are reacting to this crisis. Things that used to seem like obstacles are pushed to the side and people are focusing on getting the job done.  I’m happy to report, too, that our technicians say that your technicians are very good, so all they need is spare parts and they can get the job done.


            Any other questions?


            SENATOR BOND:  Paul, I might interrupt to say that I enjoyed my visit to Indonesia and the opportunity to work with your very fine diplomats in Washington. And I had planned two months ago to come to congratulate your new president and to wish him well.  We’re very proud of the election, the people of Indonesia in demonstrating their commitment to the democratic process. The fact that he received an advanced degree from a university in my state makes him a special friend, but, in this situation, we’re here today to express our deep condolences and sincere wishes of the people I serve and I was very, very struck as we toured yesterday to see the devastation in Aceh and the apocalyptic nature of this tragedy. But the thing that was gratifying to me, as one who has dealt with much smaller tragedies in my home area, was to see the cooperative effort led by the very able government of Indonesia in which we are pleased to cooperate along with other countries. And, that is very heartening and I can also, I can tell you, the people of Indonesia, that the people of America on the streets in the schools, in the businesses, in places of worship are thinking about and praying for, and concerned about the victims and all the people of Indonesia and we’re with you in a good recovery and we look forward to building and strengthening the ties of friendship.


            DEPUTY SECRETARY WOLFOWITZ:  I might say Admiral Fargo is scheduled unfortunately, that’s my view, to retire on February 26, so this will be, I guess, probably your last visit to Indonesia, at least as an active duty officer. Do you want to say a word? I think it would be, you’ve got a lot of experience in Indonesia, in East Asia…


            ADMIRAL FARGO:  I think one of the things that has impressed me greatly on this visit, and this is my third visit to Indonesia as the commander of the United States Pacific Command, is how well the Indonesian military is coordinating the efforts in Banda Aceh and the manner in which all of the relief providers, whether they’re military or civilian or part of international organizations that are working together to provide the immediate assistance up in Aceh. It’s really a tremendous effort and this is probably one of the most complex undertakings I’ve seen in terms of an operation, a disaster or otherwise.  The extraordinary cooperation and coordination is something I think ought to make everybody very proud.


            JOURNALIST:  (Relayed by interpreter) She asked that the international community had promised an estimated $500 million, and she asked if the United States government would help realize that aid.  She was referring to the case of Iran, which had an earthquake, was promised $1 billion but in the end only got $17 million. So, she asked if the United States would have realized money …


            DEPUTY SECRETARY WOLFOWITZ:  What I can say is what we will do for sure, and President Bush has pledged $350 million of U.S. taxpayer money. He’s also asked his father and former President Clinton to work together to raise money from private American donors and I think if the number I heard yesterday in Thailand was already $350 million has been raised by private Americans. If that’s true, then the private contribution will be even greater than the government contribution. And when we make promises, we deliver. I can guarantee you that.  Some other countries deliver, but more slowly and some countries just make promises. That’s, I think it’s important and we’re happy to work with your government to try to make the delivery as real and as fast as possible.  It’s always the case, I think we encountered this in Afghanistan for example, that people have to sometimes keep being reminded of their pledges.  But I think the positive side of this is there’s a real outpouring of international sympathy.  Because of the huge scale of this, I think Senator Bond said “apocalyptic,” and people understand that this is a need beyond any one country’s ability to deal with and I know my President is very much committed to making good on what we’ve promised to do.


            Think we have time for one last one.


            The Ambassador asked me to point out that our money is grant aid, it’s not a loan. Indonesia has enough debt. We don’t want to add to it. Thanks, Lynn.


            PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN:  (inaudible) that he appreciated very much to (inaudible) appreciated very much the effort by the U.S. government, especially the U.S. military and the humanitarian relief operations in Aceh and he noted that there were certain areas that we did not have capability to do and that this was filled by the capability of our friends from the U.S. military…giving air transport to some of the areas that were very difficult to reach. So I want to stress again how much President Yudhoyono appreciated the cooperation and coordination between the Indonesian military and the U.S. military on this. 


            DEPUTY SECRETARY WOLFOWITZ:  One last one. 


            Okay, going, going, gone. Thank you.

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