Subject: AN: Ramos Horta expects Susilo to strengthen RI-Timor ties

Jakarta Post

September 24, 2004

Ramos Horta expects Susilo to strengthen RI-Timor ties

NEW YORK (Antara): Presidential front-runner Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono could strengthen bilateral ties between Indonesia and Timor Leste, Timor Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta said here on Thursday.

"I am sure he will continue the Indonesian-Timor Leste bilateral relations established by his predecessor, President Megawati Soekarnoputri," he said during the 59th United Nations General Assembly.

Ramos Horta said he knew Susilo personally and wanted to meet with him immediately once the former top security minister was installed as the country's sixth president.

"I admire him. He is a leader, a reformist and has a high sense of integrity," he said.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) will formally announce the winner of the presidential runoff on Oct. 5. Susilo has thus far maintained a healthy lead of 60 percent against Megawati's 40percent.

Ramos Horta added that Timor Leste was willing to cooperate with Indonesia, including diplomatic efforts in the UN, and said the country would not support the idea of establishing an international tribunal over alleged rights abuses committed by the Indonesian military following a pro-independence referendumin 1999.

He said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan did touch on the alleged human rights abuse by Indonesian troops in East Timor, and had stressed that whoever was found to be responsible for the rights violations must be tried. (**)

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