Subject: Canadian Foreign Minister meets with Ramos-Horta
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 09:10:45 -0500 (EST)
From: "Sharon R.A. Scharfe" <email@example.com>
Official Release Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
October 26, 1998 (5:50 p.m. EST) No. 246
AXWORTHY AND CHAN MEET WITH EAST TIMORESE ACTIVIST JOSÉ RAMOS-HORTA
Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy and Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) Raymond Chan met today with East Timorese activist and co-winner of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. José Ramos-Horta, to discuss the situation in East Timor.
"Dr. Ramos-Horta and I spoke about the progress being made under the UN trilateral talks between Portugal and Indonesia. We also spoke about how Canada might be able to help the East Timorese in preparing for their future," said Minister Axworthy. "Canada is strongly supportive of the UN talks, and we encourage all parties to seize the current unparalleled opportunity to reach a lasting political resolution with respect to East Timor. And we firmly believe that the active participation of the East Timorese themselves is essential to the successful negotiation of such a resolution."
Minister for International Co-operation and Minister responsible for La Francophonie Diane Marleau announced that Canada would provide financial support to the next round of the All Inclusive Intra-East Timorese Dialogue taking place October 30 in Austria. Canada will contribute $30 000 to the Dialogue through the Canadian International Development Agency. This is additional to the financial support of $60 000 provided to previous rounds of the Dialogue.
"Canada is the third-largest donor in East Timor, with $1.1 million in aid provided each year," said Minister Marleau. "This aid is channelled through NGOs and supports grassroots organizations in the areas of agriculture, education and training, health and nutrition and women's programs."
On his recent visit to Indonesia, Secretary of State Raymond Chan met with President Habibie, and discussed the situation in East Timor with Foreign Affairs Minister Alatas and imprisoned East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao.
"President Habibie has offered wide-ranging autonomy to the territory, and discussions are proceeding on that basis," said Mr. Chan. "We welcome this and the other changes that have occurred in Indonesia in recent months, including the release of political prisoners, among whom were many East Timorese. We encourage the Government of Indonesia to continue to release political prisoners, including Xanana Gusmao."
East Timor, with a population of 800 000, is a former colony of Portugal. It was annexed as the 27th province of Indonesia in 1976. Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize with Dr. Ramos-Horta, is also a key player in ongoing talks on the future of East Timor.
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For further information, media representatives may contact:
Debora Brown Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs (613) 995-1851
André Doren Office of the Minister for International Co-operation and Minister responsible for La Francophonie (819) 997-6919
Hilary Humphrey Office of the Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) (613) 995-1852
Media Relations Office Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (613) 995-1874
Media Relations Office The Canadian International Development Agency (819) 953-6534
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For more information on Parliamentarians for East Timor, Please Contact: Sharon Scharfe, International Secretariat, PARLIAMENTARIANS FOR EAST TIMOR Suite 116, 5929-L Jeanne D'Arc Blvd., Orleans, ON K1C 7K2 CANADA Fax: 1-613-834-2021 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"... where there are profits to be defended, law, justice, freedom, democracy and peace are the victims." -- Xanana Gusmao, Jailed Leader of East Timor in Preface to "Complicity: Human Rights and Canadian Foreign Policy -- the Case of East Timor" (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1996).