Subject: JP: Jakarta and Dili 'should develop trade ties

Jakarta and Dili 'should develop trade ties'

05/31/2000 JAKARTA POST

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia and East Timor should develop trade relations for their mutual benefit, head of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) said on Tuesday. Speaking to journalists after meeting President Abdurrahman Wahid, Sergio de Mello said that the most important item on his economic agenda was the trade relations between East Timor and Indonesia.

"I think both sides have interests in developing trade relations," de Mello said.

"There is a lot of potential ... we have great demands while Indonesia and other countries of the region have a lot to offer and we want Indonesia to be given a fair chance," he added.

De Mello said, however, that to support healthy trade relations the two first needed to agree on many things, including technicalities, customs and immigration.

He said that "a win-win solution" should be sought to bridge the existing differences and problems between the two countries.

"This is why we proposed last month the establishment of a joint border commission," he said.

De Mello added that during his meeting with the president, they had also discussed the prospect of having East Timorese students back in Indonesian universities.

"I know that there are some reservations here and there, but this is the best investment that we can jointly make on the future relations between the two countries.

"Their only chance to continue their higher education is here," he said, adding that Jakarta had offered 162 scholarships for East Timorese students.

Earlier on Tuesday, de Mello met with Foreign Affairs Minister Alwi Shihab.

Later in the day, de Mello met with Attorney General Marzuki Darusman and told reporters after the meeting that a team from the Attorney General's Office would be dispatched to East Timor within three weeks to investigate last year's violence in the former Indonesian province. (01/byg/prb/dja)

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