Subject: LUSA: Dili, Canberra and Jakarta To Hold Tripartite Talks in Bali Bali

05 Feb 02 13:00 East Timor: Dili, Canberra and Jakarta To Hold Tripartite Talks in Bali

Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri will lead an East Timor government delegation to unprecedented tripartite talks with Indonesia and Australia in Bali late this month, Dili officials told Lusa Tuesday.

They said the East Timorese team, which will include interim Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta, would hold separate meetings with the Australians and Indonesians on Feb. 25 before the tripartite talks.

The idea of holding triangular conversations was first suggested by former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid in a meeting with East Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao in April 2000.

While all three sides have said they supported such an initiative, disagreements between Jakarta and Canberra blocked its realization.

At the time of Wahid´s suggestion, Gusmao said East Timor was "part of the region, and it is important that the three countries understand each other, creating mechanisms where cooperation and friendship serve as the basis of our relations".

SAS/ASP -Lusa-

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