Subject: RT: U.S. House welcomes new nation East Timor

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

U.S. House welcomes new nation East Timor

WASHINGTON, May 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a resolution welcoming East Timor as the world's newest nation after 24 years of Indonesian control.

The House passed the resolution 405-1 for the nation that became independent on Monday. The United States promptly established diplomatic relations, and said it would send an ambassador to the capital Dili.

"The people of East Timor have every right to be proud of their newly won independence because the road was long and arduous, full of death and intense suffering," said New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith, a House International Relations Committee member who sponsored the resolution.

The country, about the size of Belgium, voted in 1999 to split from Indonesia, triggering a vengeful response from pro-Jakarta militias and the Indonesian military.

The United Nations stepped in and ran East Timor up until its independence.

Smith said the country, a Portuguese colony for some 400 years, under Indonesian rule suffered "massacres, forced sterilization, and attempts at cultural annihilation."

He called independence leader Xanana Gusmao, the country's first president, "a courageous man and the people of East Timor should be proud he is their president."

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