Subject: E. Timor FM: Won't Push For Intl Tribunal [+JP; PNG-Indon cooperation]

also: JP: RI, E. Timor confident about settling residual issues

East Timor Foreign Minister: Won't Push For Intl Tribunal

JAKARTA, June 11 (AP)--East Timor Wednesday said it wouldn't take the lead in pushing for an international tribunal to try Indonesian officers accused over the destruction of the country in 1999, saying any trial was the responsibility of the international community.

"It's not (on) our agenda to continue to dwell on this issue," Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta said in Jakarta. "This is the responsibility of the international community."

Horta was speaking to reporters after attending talks between Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri and East Timorese Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.

East Timor hasn't aggressively pushed for an international tribunal to be convened to try Indonesian security officers over their alleged roles in the violence that erupted when East Timor voted to break away from 27 years of Jakarta rule in 1999.

Its stance has angered local and international rights groups, which are demanding that a tribunal be established similar to those that were set up in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

East Timor says maintaining ties with its giant neighbor and former occupier are more important than seeking justice for the violence, which left up to 1,500 people dead and most of the country destroyed.

Jakarta last year began trying 18 senior military and government officials over the bloodshed.

The trials have been widely criticized as a sham. They have so far acquitted 12 suspects and convicted five - all of whom are free pending appeals. The last defendant, Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri, is expected to go free after prosecutors recommended that he be acquitted of all charges.

Horta declined to comment on the trials, and noted they hadn't yet finished.

Neither Alkatiri nor Megawati brought up the issue of an international tribunal when they addressed reporters after the meeting.

Alkatiri said the talks were "extraordinary and very positive."

The two countries signed agreements on border controls and increased economic cooperation and discussed lingering bilateral issues, including pension payments for Indonesian civil servants and government assets left in the county.

"We agreed to develop a mature relationship, one that is mutually respectful and supportive," Megawati said.

Despite their bloody past, the two countries share numerous cultural and social links. Megawati attended celebrations marking East Timor's official independence on May 20, 2002 and there have been several high-level visits between the two countries.

Alkatiri is on his first state visit to Indonesia. He is scheduled to fly home Friday.

-Edited by Lena Lee


The Jakarta Post [online] June 11, 2003

RI, E. Timor confident about settling residual issues

JAKARTA (Antara): The governments of Indonesia and East Timor have expressed confidence the two countries will be able to resolve all of the residual issues remaining from East Timor's secession in 1999.

This confidence was communicated in a joint communique issued following bilateral talks between Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri and East Timorese Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri at the Merdeka Palace here on Wednesday.

Alkatiri said he believed the residual issues would be resolved soon.

Megawati said these residual issues included the problems of former Indonesian civil servants who had been assigned to East Timor, refugees, government and private assets left behind in East Timor and the status of East Timorese studying in Indonesia.

The two heads of government also agreed to step up bilateral cooperation. Indonesian Minister of Industry and Trade Rini Soewandi and East Timorese Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Ramos Horta signed an agreement on traditional markets at border crossings.

Alkatiri said the promotion of bilateral relations was not based on geographical proximity, but on cultural similarities.

"The East Timorese will do their best to transform the borders between the two countries into points of rapport," he said.

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