Subject: RT: Indonesia hails old foe Gusmao's Timor election win

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Indonesia hails old foe Gusmao's Timor election win

JAKARTA, April 17 (Reuters) - Indonesia congratulated former foe Xanana Gusmao on Wednesday for his win in East Timor's presidential poll, extending warm words to the man who led the bitter fight against Jakarta's rule over the territory.

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said Gusmao telephoned him on Wednesday afternoon, not long after an announcement that East Timor's independence hero had scored a sweeping victory to be president of the world's newest nation.

Gusmao spent some seven years in a Jakarta jail in the 1990s for his stubborn jungle resistance to Indonesia's invasion of the former Portuguese colony in 1975.

"On behalf of the government of Indonesia and myself, I have extended our congratulations to president-elect Xanana Gusmao," Wirajuda told Reuters in an interview.

"At the same time we congratulate East Timor for the very successful election process that was democratic and peaceful."

The presidential election took place last Sunday.

East Timor voted in a U.N.-organised ballot in 1999 to break from Jakarta's often brutal rule, unleashing widespread violence by local militias opposed to the decision.

Wirajuda said Gusmao had expressed his intention to work closely with Indonesia to develop "brotherly relations."

"He also asked me to convey to (Indonesian) President Megawati Sukarnoputri and other Indonesian leaders his warm greetings on this very happy occasion," Wirajuda said.

Asked if Megawati would accept an invitation to attend East Timor's formal declaration of independence on May 20, Wirajuda said the president had not yet made up her mind.

East Timor has been under U.N. authority since late 1999.

Some Indonesian MPs have been hostile to the possibility Megawati might attend. A staunch nationalist, she opposed a decision by then president B.J. Habibie to allow the U.N. to conduct the 1999 referendum on East Timor's future.

Timorese leaders have said Megawati's attendance would be an "eloquent" sign of how far relations have come since 1999 when the pro-Jakarta militias, with backing from the Indonesian military, ravaged the territory after the independence vote.


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