Subject: LUSA: Gusmao visit to 'open doors' to Indonesia, says FM Ramos Horta

01-07-2002 13:49:00. Notícia nº 3843855 Temas:

East Timor: Gusmao visit to 'open doors' to Indonesia, says FM Ramos Horta

East Timor's foreign minister, Jose Ramos Horta, forecast success Monday for President Xanana Gusmao's state visit to Indonesia, saying it appeared destined to "open doors to future links" between his newly independent nation and its former ruler.

Ramos Horta, speaking to Lusa during a stopover in Bali enroute to Jakarta with Gusmao, said East Timor and Indonesia would create a joint ministerial commission during the visit to deal with varied bilateral areas, including economic, trade, educational and cultural ties.

The two governments also planned to sign a joint statement on diplomatic relations, the Nobel Prize laureate said.

Underlining it was Gusmao's first visit of state, Ramos Horta said it was of "particlular importance" because the "climate it creates, up to now quite positive, could open doors to future links" between the neighboring states.

He noted that Jakarta had postponed the visit, first planned for almost immediately after East Timor's May 20 independence, so that it could be promoted to and readied as a visit of state.

Ramos Horta downplayed demands by what he termed "ultra- nationalist" sectors and some "overblown" comment in Indonesian media about claims of compensation for public and private properties left behind in East Timor at independence.

"I believe this problem will be overcome once the two sides understand that it is of mutual interest to set aside questions that have to do with the past", he told Lusa, stressing the need for "constuctive dialogue".

Resentment on the part of some Indonesians to East Timor's independence was "natural" under the circumstances, Ramos Horta asserted, adding that "most of the population", including Indonesia's "intellectuals and elite", had "quickly" accepted the new reality, extending "warmth and solidarity".

SAS/ASP -Lusa-

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