Subject: AFP: Indonesia names intelligence chief as first envoy to ET
Indonesia names intelligence chief as first envoy to East Timor
Thu Jul 29, 3:02 AM ET
JAKARTA, (AFP) - Indonesia has appointed a top intelligence official as its first ambassador to East Timor (news - web sites), five years after an independence vote led to the two countries' painful separation.
Ahmad Bey Sofwan, who served as deputy head of analysis for Indonesia's national intelligence agency, was among several new envoys installed by President Megawati Sukarnoputri in a ceremony Thursday.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975, only withdrawing after a 1999 vote for independence led to a bloody campaign by militias created by the Indonesian military.
Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda told reporters after Thursday's ceremony that Sofwan, who was a civilian employee of the non-military intelligence agency, had been appointed to guarantee high-level contacts with East Timor.
"We see a need to put in place someone adequate for the duties in Dili because there are many problems which still must be resolved, be they residual issues or new problems that emerge,"
At least 1,000 East Timorese died and much of the territory was left in ruins during the military-backed rampage before the former Portuguese colony gained formal independence in May 2002 after 31 months of UN stewardship.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa stressed that the fact Sofwan was an intelligence agency official should not be "over-analyzed."
"Besides, East Timor has no objections to the appointment," he told AFP.
Indonesia had been represented by a lower level official in Dili since 1999, while East Timor installed its ambassador to Jakarta in February 2003.
East Timorese leaders say they are seeking to cooperate with their former foes and want to focus on the future.
The two sides are delineating their common border but also need to settle other outstanding issues such as Indonesia's demand to be compensated for assets its nationals left behind.
Associated Press July 29, 2004
Indonesia appoints intelligence official as first East Timor envoy
Indonesia on Thursday appointed a senior intelligence officer as its first ambassador to East Timor, which broke away from Jakarta rule in 1999 after a violence-wracked independence ballot.
Ahmed Sofwan is currently the deputy chief of Indonesia's Intelligence Agency or BIN. He is due to take up his new post in East Timor within a month, said Marty Natalegawa, the foreign ministry spokesman.
Natalegawa said Sofwan's current job at BIN was not related to his new position. Jakarta is currently represented in Dili by a consular official.
"Our interests (in East Timor) are to finish unresolved issues between the two countries," he said. "We feel that he can provide leadership in that aspect."
Indonesia ruled East Timor for 24 brutal years before it voted to break away in a U.N. sponsored ballot five years ago that was marked by bloody attacks by Indonesian troops and their militia proxies. The United Nations then administered the country before it gained full independence in 2002.
Political ties between Indonesia and East Timor are good despite their bloody past.
Indonesia is Dili's largest trading partner, and the two governments are preparing an agreement on issues left unresolved from the Indonesian occupation. Among them are border demarcation, asset recovery and civil servants retirement funds.
The Jakarta Post Thursday, July 29, 2004
RI Names Envoy to East Timor
Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, Jakarta
President Megawati Soekarnoputri is set to install a senior State Intelligence Agency (BIN) official on Thursday as the first Indonesian ambassador to East Timor.
Deputy BIN chief for intelligence analysis Ahmed D. Sofwan is among five new envoys to be inaugurated by the President at the State Palace.
Ahmed is a civilian who has been with the intelligence agency for the last five years.
Foreign ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa said on Wednesday that each appointment had been made in accordance with Indonesia's interests in the countries concerned.
"In East Timor we have a lot of residual issues such as refugees, assets and other matters following on from the separation, and we really need people with a strong legal understanding in the Indonesian representative office there," Marty told The Jakarta Post.
However, he said he was not in a position to comment on the motives behind the appointment of a senior intelligence official as the ambassador to the former Indonesian province, saying the decision had been made by the country's highest authorities.
"The most important is that the East Timor government feels comfortable with it and has signaled its agreement," Marty said.
East Timor broke away from Indonesia in 1999 following a self-determination vote administered by the United Nations.
East Timor Ambassador to Indonesia, the Rev. Arlindo Marcal, submitted his credentials to the President in February last year. However, it was only after one year that the House of Representatives agreed to reciprocate the move.
According to the amended 1945 Constitution, all ambassadorial appointments must be preceded by selection hearings in the House, a requirement that has drawn out the appointment process to at least six months.
Also on Thursday, Megawati will swear in outgoing Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General for Asia, Pacific and Africa Makarim Wibisono as Indonesia's permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva.
An official at the State Secretariat said that eight ambassadors were originally slated to be appointed on Thursday, including senior politician Jacob Tobing as Indonesia's envoy to South Korea.
Jacob is currently a legislator representing Megawati's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). But prior to 1998, he was a senior figure in the Golkar Party.
"We are still waiting for the presidential decree on the appointment of the other three ambassadors," the State Secretariat official told the Post.
List of new envoys [Name Destination of mission]:
Makarim Wibisono Permanent Representative to UN Ahmed D. Sofwan East Timor Abdul Rachman Urip Cambodia Hertomo Reksodiputro Tunisia Nuni Turniati Joko Romania
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