Indonesia may resume participation in a U.S. military training program after an absence of more than a decade, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has determined.
Resumption generally is viewed as a first step in lifting the ban on military-to-military ties between the two countries.
The Bush administration restricted Indonesia's participation after its military did not cooperate fully in the investigation of the killings there of two U.S. citizens in August 2002.
But Rice now has determined that Indonesia has assisted and continues to cooperate with the FBI's investigation into the slayings of schoolteachers Rick Spier of Littleton, Colo., and Ted Burgon of Sunriver, Ore., during an ambush near the Timika gold and copper mine in Papua province, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in a statement Saturday.
The effort has led to the indictment of Anthonius Wamang, an Indonesian citizen and Papuan separatist group member, for murder, attempted murder and other charges in the case.
Indonesia has not participated in the Pentagon's International Military Education and Training Program since 1992. Restrictions were first imposed that year after civilian protesters were massacred in East Timor, then left in place after Indonesia's troops devastated the province of East Timor after a U.N.-sponsored independence referendum. They later were tied to the murder investigation.
The training program, worth about $600,000 annually, is designed to foster professional links between the two countries' militaries.