Subject: LUSA: Indonesia Rejects Pressure and Promises Discreet Support

18 Jun 01 20:43 East Timor: Indonesia Rejects Pressure and Promises Discreet Support

The Indonesian government rejects pressure to resolve the question of refugees in its western half of Timor island, while at the same time promising discreet support for East Timor.

The head of Jakarta's delegation to the recent East Timor donors conference in Canberra, Marty Natalegawa, told Lusa Monday that his government remained committed to resolving problems between the two countries and enhancing bilateral relations.

Natalegawa stressed that the question of the East Timorese refugees in West Timor was a priority, adding that Jakarta was likewise committed to bringing to justice suspected perpetrators of violence in East Timor, both before and after the territory's Aug. 1999 independence plebiscite, which ended 24 years of Indonesian occupation.

"Resolution of the problem of the refugees and allegations against those responsible for the violence are questions that the (Indonesian) government itself wants to deal with quickly. We don't need to be reminded of this. Nor pressured about this", he said.

The Jakarta diplomat's comments come in the wake of statements made last week by the Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, who said the refugee problem would have to be resolved soon if it were not to affect ties between East Timor and Indonesia.

Queried on Indonesia's role in the East Timor transition process, Natalegawa emphasized that Jakarta was not a donor "in the traditional definition", but was nevertheless committed to various programs to support the territory.

"We see ourselves supporting East Timor not with pledges of money, but via policies we know will help East Timor to develop and become prosperous", he said, adding that many such polices were "not apparent", because they are carried out "calmly, on the sidelines".

Natalegawa cited as examples the support granted East Timorese students in Indonesia, cooperation in the area of pensions for former civil servants, the recuperation of archives and preservation of East Timor's cultural heritage. "Few are aware that some of the hundreds of East Timorese studying in Indonesia receive support from the Indonesian government", he said. Jakarta's participation in the Canberra donors conference, despite some problems, was a sign that Indonesia is looking to the future, Natalegawa said. "The signs are positive", he emphasized, adding "we are confident that we will have a positive relationship with East Timor".

JBC -Lusa-

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