Subject: AN: INDONESIA, TIMOR LESTE AGREE TO SETTLE PAST PROBLEMS

INDONESIA, TIMOR LESTE AGREE TO SETTLE PAST PROBLEMS

May 16, 2004 10:23pm Antara

Denpasar, Bali , May 16 (ANTARA) - The Indonesian and Timor Leste governments have agreed to properly settle the problems existing between them, including the post-referendum human rights violations in East Timor, to prevent the issues from disturbing their bilateral relations.

Indonesian President Megawati and Timor Leste President Xanana Gusmao reached the agreement at a meeting here on Saturday night.

"The meeting is a part of a process to settle the remaining problems after Timor Leste separated from Indonesia," Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said after accompanying Megawati in the meeting.

He further said both Indonesia and Timor Leste had recognized that they must settle the remaining problems.

On the human rights violations, the two countries had taken measures to solve the problem. Indonesia had set up an ad hoc court while Timor Leste had established a severe crime unit (SCU) and a team to search for truth and reconsiliation. The international community was paying close attentions to the process.

Therefore, Hassan said the two countries should arrive at a common opinions in the face of to international pressures.

He said the meeting did not specifically touch on the issue involving Indonesia's Gen (ret) Wiranto in light of the issuance of an arrest warrant for him by the SCU.

At the meeting the Timor Leste side explained it had no full authority over the SCU in which the United Nations had a role.

"Timor Leste has a problem of its integrity with the SCU establishment. The government does not always follow or recognize SCU's decisions," he said.

On the arrest warrant for Wiranto, he said the Timor Leste government could neither annul it nor do anything to carry it out.

He said the talks on the human rights violations had nothing to do with the presidential race in Indonesia where Wiranto, former chief of the Indonesian Defence Forces (TNI), is one of the presidential hopefuls.

Hassan, however, acknowledged the two neighboring countries should evaluate whether or not their efforts to settle the human rights violations were adequate . "It is the nation's interest that the two countries must be able to to face international pressures," he added.

The minister said President Gusmao would like to bury past history and build good relations with Indonesia in the future. But, the past burdens must be settled because the international community was paying close attention to it.

In the meeting with Megawati, Gusmao was flanked by Timor Leste Foregin Minister Ramos Horta. He arrived in Denpasar on Saturday afternoon.

SCU's letter

In the meantime, the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry sees the issuance of the SCU's arrest warrant letter or the arrest order letter from the East Timor High Prosecuting Office against Gen (ret) Wiranto is not relevant to be noted seriously as it is not the official stance of the respective government.

"We do not ignore the SCU, but the issuance (of the letter) is not relevant to be commented as it was not submitted to the Indonesian government officially through diplomatic channeled," spokesman of the office Marty Natalegawa said on Tuesday (May 11).

He said if it were channeled officially by the East Timorese government, Indonesia would also take an official stance on it.

Marty added following the people's ballot in the former Indonesian province in August 1999, some investigative bodies were set up by both the transitional government of East Timor and the Indonesian government.

However, he said, based on all the investigations, there was no dossier declaring clearly who were involved in the humanitarian crimes in East Timor in that particular year.

"Even in the dossier made by the investigative team of the human rights (KPP HAM) in 1999 on the 29 suspects involved in the crimes, Wiranto' name was not mentioned ," he added.

Wiranto was the commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces at that time.

However, Marty said it does not mean that his office ignores the SCU. "Before there is no official stance from the East Timorese government, that is relevant to be commented. Deplu will not adopt any official stance or comment on it," he added.

With the issuance of the SCU's arrest warrant, Indonesia had to do some homework to show that the Indonesian ad hoc court had really hadnled the East timor human rights violations cases in a credibleand accountable way from the viewpoint of international law.

However, he added the human rights violations were a basic problem that had attracted international concern.

"Thus, there is no other ways (for our legal apparatus) to be professional," he said.

At least five generals and one civilian were sentenced by the Human Rights Ad-hoc Court here for their involvement in the human rights violations in East Timor.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)


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