Subject: East Timor Welcomes New Indonesian Ambassador

Also: East Timor: Jakarta's new envoy says 'reconciliaton' his main goal

Associated Press August 13, 2004

East Timor Welcomes New Indonesian Ambassador

DILI (AP)--East Timor welcomed Indonesia's first ambassador to the tiny nation Friday, saying his arrival shows the relationship with its former occupier is maturing just five years after bloody independence battles.

President Xanana Gusmao accepted the credentials of Ahmed Sofwan, who was until recently the deputy chief of Indonesia's Intelligence Agency, or BIN. Previously, Jakarta was represented in Dili by a consular official.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and occupied it for 24 years before the Timorese voted in 1999 to break away in a United Nations ballot that was marked by bloody attacks by Indonesian troops and their militia auxiliaries.

The world body then administered the country until it was granted full independence in 2002. Political ties between Indonesia and East Timor have improved markedly since then.

"There is no doubt that we will face many challenges in the years ahead," Gusmao said. "But with good cooperation between our countries, I do believe we can solve the future challenges."

Sofwan echoed Gusmao's comments, saying the two neighbors will see their relationship blossom in the future.

"The world can change but the relationship between the people of Indonesia and East Timor will remain solid," he said.

Indonesia is now Dili's largest trading partner, and the two governments are preparing an agreement on issues left unresolved from the Indonesian occupation. Although the thorny issue of border demarcation has largely been resolved, problems such involving asset division and civil servants retirement funds are still outstanding.

East Timor: Jakarta's new envoy says 'reconciliaton' his main goal

Dili, August 13 (Lusa) - Indonsesia`s first ambassador to East Timor delivered on Friday his credentials to President Xanana Gusmão, saying his main aim would be achieving reconciliation between Timorese and Indonesians.

Ahmed Bey Sofwan, formerly No. 2 in Jakarta`s national intelligence agency, told Lusa: "The main diplomatic challenge will be to ensure reconciliation between Timorese living in Indonesia and Indonesians living in Timor.

"Our people and leaders do not bare any ill will to Timor".

Meanwhile, a diplomatic source said Timorese Foreign Minister José Ramos Horta and his Indonesian opposite, Hassan Wirajuda, meet Sunday in Bali for discussions on how to punish those responsible for massacres in the new nation around the time of its independence vote in 1999.

Jakarta`s recent acquittal of four senior Indonesian security officials on Timor war crimes convictions has prompted widespread condemnation by international rights groups and governments including the United States and New Zealand.

EL/CJB Lusa


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