Subject: SMH: Dili's biggest embassy to be in Jakarta

Sydney Morning Herald Friday, February 16, 2001

Dili's biggest embassy to be in Jakarta

By Mark Dodd

East Timor has made Indonesia its foreign policy priority, and plans to open an embassy in Jakarta as early as next month, the Cabinet member for foreign affairs, Mr Jose Ramos Horta, said.

He said planning had begun for a mission that would be staffed by at least 15 East Timorese diplomats, a recognition that Indonesia would be East Timor's most important embassy.

In comparison, Australia and Portugal, East Timor's next most important missions abroad, would probably have no more than two diplomats each.

"Relations are good with Australia so we won't need a large staff in Canberra - perhaps one or two," Mr Ramos Horta said.

"But with Indonesia we have a lot of issues: the border, customs, security and trade."

A budget had been allocated for the purchase of property in Jakarta, and he hoped that an embassy could be established by next month or April.

Indonesia already has a diplomatic mission in Dili accredited to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor.

Mr Ramos Horta praised the role of Australian and New Zealand peacekeepers based along the 176-kilometre border with Indonesian West Timor, and said he hoped they could stay there for at least three to five years.

China had offered to build a new Foreign Ministry complex in Dili at a cost of $A7.5 million, he said.

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