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    » 04/30/2008, 00.00

    INDONESIA – EAST TIMOR

    Ramos-Horta apologises to Indonesia, studies possible military ‘co-operation”

    Mathias Hariyadi

    In his visit to Jakarta East Timor prime minister apologies on behalf of his president who had accused Indonesia of involvement in the attack against him in February. The visit is also meant to vet the possibility of military co-operation between the two countries, something which the international community views with concern.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) – East Timor President José Ramos-Horta apologised to Indonesian authorities for charges he made over Indonesia’s possible involvement in an attempted murder against him back in February. East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao yesterday delivered the apologies in person to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the start of an official visit to Indonesia. For many it is not coincidental that the apology came as Indonesian police extradited to East Timor four East Timorese deserters linked to the attack.

    On 11 February President Ramos-Horta was seriously wounded to the stomach in an attack led by rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who was killed in the gunfight that followed the attack. Mr Xanana, who was also a target of the rebels, was not hurt on that occasion.

    Official apology aside, the prime minister’s trip is designed to consolidate the tricky relations between the two neighbours.

    Indonesia’s President Susilo himself announced that “sensitive” issues will be discussed, including limited military co-operation.

    “We strongly hope that the international community will not suspect us for this kind of cooperation. We have agreed that military ties between Dili and Jakarta would only include an officer exchange programme,” Mr Susilo said.

    East Timor’s demand to send its officers for commando training in Indonesia has not been implemented yet. “This is too sensitive,” President Susilo said.

    From 1975 and 1999 East Timor was under Indonesian military occupation. The Indonesian military abused the local population in all sorts of ways, causing the death of tens of thousands of civilians.

    Since 2000 however, the governments of the two countries have pursued a policy of friendship and reconciliation, trying to play down the violence that occurred before East Timor achieved independence (2001) as well as Indonesia’s subsequent failure to bring those responsible for such violence to justice.

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    See also

    10/04/2007 EAST TIMOR
    Peace Prize laureate Ramos-Horta appears to be leading in vote
    Yesterday’s elections went off without a hitch. Preliminary results indicate that no candidate will win on the first ballot. The ruling Fretilin party seems to have lost; its candidate Guterres is only third.

    06/04/2007 EAST TIMOR
    Election campaign ends as East Timorese get set to go to the poll to pick next president
    Calm returns to the country after factional clashes. Presidential elections will take place next Monday. Nobel Prize winner Ramos Horta and Fretilin leader Francisco Guterres are favoured. Catholic Church tells faithful to choose “with conscience” and unexpectedly picks a former student activist, Fernando 'Lasama' de Araujo, as its choice.

    29/05/2006 EAST TIMOR
    Increasing calls for the prime minister's resignation
    In Dili hundreds of people are demonstrating against Prime Minister Alkatiri. The Catholic Church calls for a new government. Political leaders are in emergency meetings, whilst armed gangs are still ransacking the capital.

    12/04/2007 EAST TIMOR
    Presidential elections: some candidates complain of irregularities as the country prepares for a two
    Five candidates call for a halt to vote counting until the process can be secured with other observers present. According to partial results Horta and Guterres should square off next May 8.

    08/07/2010 EAST TIMOR– AUSTRALIA
    Australia to dump Oceania’s refugees on East Timor
    Australia’s new prime minister wants to build a large refugee-processing centre in the poor Southeast Asian nation. In 2009, Oceania had 38,200 refugees, 22,000 in Australia. The opposition in Canberra calls the PM’s idea a disconcerting proposal and an embarrassing mistake.



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