Subject: DN: JRH to meet Alatas in Portugal

Source: Diario de Noticias web site, Lisbon, in Portuguese 24 May 04

East Timor foreign minister to meet former Indonesian counterpart in Portugal

May 24, 2004 9:38pm Asia Intelligence Wire

Former Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas will travel to Portugal on 3 June to participate in a conference sponsored by the Diplomatic Institute and the Institute of International Strategic Studies, an event which the current Timorese foreign minister, Jose Ramos Horta, is also due to attend.

The process of Timorese independence and the political developments in Indonesia are two of the main issues to be discussed at the conference, which will be moderated by [Socialist spokesman for foreign affairs] Ana Gomes, the former Portuguese ambassador in Jakarta who witnessed the historical - and also tragic - episodes which led to a referendum and the independence of East Timor from Indonesia.

During his sojourn in Portugal, Ali Alatas is expected to meet Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso - the first Portuguese diplomacy chief to hold talks with an Indonesian counterpart for the resolution of the East Timorese conflict. This meeting is seen as yet another step toward the gradual normalization of relations between Portugal and Indonesia. Ali Alatas' visit had been scheduled since 1999, but it has only been made possible now. [Passage omitted]

Source: Diario de Noticias web site, Lisbon, in Portuguese 24 May 04

BBC Monitoring


Posters Note:

[Will questions be allowed about Alatas's past role in East Timor's occupation?]


Sydney Morning Herald Belo scuttles Gusmao's bid to woo Indonesia By Jill Jolliffe in Dili September 11, 2003

A bid by East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao to further his campaign for reconciliation with Indonesia came apart yesterday when Jakarta's former foreign minister, Ali Alatas, was criticised during a visit to Dili by Bishop Carlos Belo and subjected to hostile questioning by the local press.

The 70-year-old diplomat's first visit to independent East Timor began triumphantly.

He was embraced by both Mr Gusmao and the Foreign Minister, Jose Ramos Horta, while dodging questions on human rights violations during Indonesia's occupation from 1975 until 1999. There was mutual agreement the subject would not be raised, though, in an interview with the Herald, he admitted there had been violations. "It was a nasty little war . . . There were acts committed by either side," he said.

Now an adviser to President Megawati Soekarnoputri, Mr Alatas was keynote speaker at a seminar organised by Mr Gusmao's office. In chairing the meeting, Mr Gusmao disallowed any questions referring to past Indonesian behaviour.

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