Subject: AFP: E. Timor tells Indonesia to drop its asset compensation demand

Also: Compensation from East Timor still on Jakarta's agenda

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Agence France-Presse May 29, 2002

East Timor tells Indonesia to drop its asset compensation demand

Newly independent East Timor urged former ruler Indonesia to drop its compensation demand for assets left behind after Jakarta ended its two-decade occupation of the country.

But Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta played down Jakarta's decision to postpone indefinitely a visit by Dili's new leaders to Indonesia which had been scheduled for Wednesday.

"We should best not talk about assets. If they (Indonesia) want to talk assets, East Timor lost much more," Ramos Horta told a press conference.

He said thousands of homes and buildings were burnt down during the violence that surrounded the August 30, 1999 UN-organised ballot that led to the separation of East Timor from Indonesia after 24 years.

"A lot of our people also died, around 2,000," Ramos Horta said, adding that both sides should take the "zero sum" approach.

"The two countries should seek their own solution. If Indonesia gets any claim from its citizens regarding losses they suffered, Indonesia should attempt to seek an alternative.

"East Timor will also face the claims from its own people and try to handle them," Ramos-Horta said.

Pro-Jakarta militiamen in East Timor, backed by senior Indonesian security officials, waged a campaign of intimidation before the independence vote and a bloody and destructive "scorched earth" revenge campaign after the result was announced.

Ramos Horta said that at every meeting between officials of the two governments, Jakarta had always raised the matter of compensation for public and private assets.

But his government had yet to officially present its stance.

Ramos Horta described the postponement of the visit by himself, President Xanana Gusmao and Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri as a matter of protocol.

"Indonesia wants this visit to be a state visit and therefore it would need more preparation, and good protocol dictates that all the senior officials, including the president and the foreign minister, be in town for the visit," he said.

"The visit has been delayed by the Indonesian side who informed us that the visit be postponed because there were still a lot of preparations to make."

He said Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda was currently outside Indonesia.

Gusmao, president of the nation which achieved independence just nine days ago, had planned to make his first overseas trip as head of state to Indonesia to symbolise a new chapter in relations.

Indonesia's foreign ministry said the visit had been postponed "till a mutually suitable time and date can be arranged" due to scheduling problems. It denied the move was related to any outstanding disagreements or intended as a snub.

Indonesian claims over assets are one bone of contention.

Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 and annexed it the following year in defiance of most of the world.

It spent millions of dollars on infrastructure during its 24-year rule, which also cost at least 100,000 East Timorese lives.

Gusmao was to leave Thursday for a visit to South Korea, during which he will attend the World Cup's opening ceremony and hold talks with officials before returning home.

Ramos Horta was due to leave with Gusmao for South Korea. He will go on to Spain, Ireland, Britain, Norway and Australia before returning on June 20.


Agence France Presse

May 30, 2002

Compensation from East Timor still on Jakarta's agenda

JAKARTA,

Indonesia has no intention to drop demands for compensation for assets left behind after it ended its 24-year rule of East Timor, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said Thursday.

"This has been on our agenda so far, will remain on our agenda and we will still fight for it," Wirayuda told journalists after a cabinet meeting.

"But it is true that we have not yet talked about this asset matter (with East Timor's government) because we know that this is not a simple matter and our inventory is not yet complete," he said.

East Timorese Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta has urged Jakarta to drop its compensation demand, saying that East Timor lost much more during Indonesian's often-brutal occupation and in the carnage that engulfed the territory after it voted for independence in 1999.

Wirayuda said the compensation was "a residual problem" of negotiations with the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor, which ran the territory from 1999 until it became independent on May 20.

He said officials were continuing the inventory of assets belonging to the Indonesian government, state enterprises, private businesses and individuals.

Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 and annexed it the following year in defiance of most of the world.

It spent millions of dollars on infrastructure during its 24-year rule, which also cost at least 100,000 East Timorese lives.

At least 2,000 more were killed when anti-independence militias backed by the Indonesian military laid waste to East Timor in the months surrounding the August 1999 vote for statehood.


Back to May menu
April

World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu

Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from http://www.v3inc.com/