No Eurofighter sale talks with Indonesia: Britain

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Britain on Wednesday denied reports that it was in talks with Indonesia about selling the country Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

The Times newspaper earlier this month reported that Jakarta had informally approached Britain over the potential acquisition of up to 24 warplanes, worth around 5 billion pounds ($8.1 billion dollars) in total.

The previous Labour government banned defence exports to Indonesia in 1999 amid claims it had used British-made Hawk aircraft to bomb civilians in East Timor.

"There is no discussion at the moment with Indonesia about the Typhoon," minister for international security strategy Gerald Howarth told AFP at the Jakarta International Defence Dialogue summit.

But he he did not rule out the possibility of forging future defence deals with Indonesia.

"I should be exploring any specific interest that the Indonesians may have," he said at the three day meeting, which opened Wednesday.

Human rights group Amnesty International accuses Indonesia of rights violations including police torture and restrictions on the media.

Eurofighters were grounded in several countries last year due to problems with ejector seats after a crash killed a Saudi pilot.

© 2011 AFP

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