Subject: AN: Dili-Jakarta ties improved, Bishop Belo

Antara - The Indonesian National News Agency.

February 19, 2001


Kuala Lumpur, Feb 19 (ANTARA) - Visiting East Timorese Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo said relations between Dili and Jakarta have much improved through reciprocal visits by the two countries' leaders, sending positive signal to the people of East Timor to reconcile.

"With the exception of sporadic unrest involving militiamen, East Timor and Indonesia have developed people-to-people relations," Belo was quoted by The Sun on Monday as saying.

The Nobel peace laureate was here upon the invitation of the local Catholic lawyers' society.

He voiced his country's wish to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and hoped the two sides would reach a new solidarity.

"ASEAN needs to establish relations with East Timor shortly after the UN mission there has concluded its tasks," he said.

Claiming that East Timor is part of Southeast Asia and Asia and the Pacific, he said : "Culturally and geopolitically, it (East Timor) has relations with its neighbors ...."

Asked about Australia's role in East Timor, he said the neighboring state only confined to "the rehabilitation and development" of East Timor. Numerous Australian organisations had been conducting mission in East Timor and they had a lot of jobs to do, he said.

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