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US postpones jet fighter sales to Indonesia

Lusa - March 26, 1997

Washington – The US has decided to postpone the sale of nine F-16 jet fighters to Indonesia because of human rights violations in the Southeast Asian country, the White House has announced.

The spokesman for the White House, Michael McCurry, said on Tuesday that the decision was not related to investigations on the US presidential campaign after a wealthy Indonesian businessman was found to have illegally donated money to the Democrat Party.

This is the second time that the US decides to delay sine die the sale.

Last year, the US Congress voted to postpone the transaction because of Jakarta's human rights record and several human rights watchdogs have also criticised the possible sale raising the issue of Indonesian occupation of East Timor.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed it one year later but the United Nations still regards Portugal as the territory's administering power.