Subject: AN: Don't Blow pp Papuan Political Asylum Seekers Issue: Ramos Horta

Also: Timor Leste Supports RI's Nomination to UN Human Rights Council Membership

Antara (Indonesia)

April 18, 2006 Tuesday


Jakarta April 18

Visiting Timor Leste Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Ramos Horta asked journalists here Tuesday not to blow-up the issue of Australia's decision to give temporary visas to 42 Papuan political asylum seekers.

"I don't know much about the situation in Papua. I am more concerned about the tension between Australia and Indonesia following the action of a few people in seeking political asylum in Australia," said Horta after a meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Nur Hassan Wirajuda.

He said the number of Papuans who had sought asylum in Australia was very small, only 42, compared to Indonesia's population of 240 million.

"So, if they want to seek asylum abroad, it's better not to make a fuss about it because Indonesia is inhabited by so many more people who are not satisfied about a lot of things," said Horta, who is also a 1996 Nobel laureate.

Another reason (for not blowing up the matter) was that Australia and Indonesia were neighboring countries that had long-standing friendly relationships."So I am sure the two countries can resolve their problem," he said.

"My suggestion to the Indonesian government is to see this problem in a democratic perspective, as a country consisting of thousands of islands and with a population 240 million where democracy is so dynamic. If there are 42 people seeking asylum in another country for economic or political reasons, don't make a big issue of it," he said.

He said "if there are 40 Timorese people seeking political asylum in Australia, whatever their reasons, I would tell them 'may God bless you, and may you have a better life in Australia."

"I will pray to God, may they get comfortable houses and live happily as Australian citizens," Horta said.

Antara (Indonesia)

April 18, 2006 Tuesday


Jakarta April 18

Timor Leste fully supports Indonesia's nomination as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, its Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta said here on Tuesday.

"Timor Leste supports Indonesia's nomination as a member of the UN Human Rights Council in the election on May 9," Ramos Horta said.

Speaking to newsmen after a meeting with Indonesian Foreig Minister Hassan Wirayuda, Horta said besides supporting Indonesia's nomination to UN Human Rights Council membership, Timor Leste also supported Indonesia's bid to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2007-2008 period.

"This year, Indonesia is also a candidate for non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council which will hold the election either in September or October, and Timor Leste will support Indonesia's wish," Horta added.

Besides expressing his country's support, Horta in his meeting with Wirayuda also discussed bilateral issues and efforts to increase bilateral economic cooperation.

"We hope in the fourth joint ministerial committee meeting later, an agreement on investment between the two countries and border issue can be reached," Horta said, adding that both countries had so far agreed on 99 percent of the border points.

He said the remaining one percent of the border issue is expected to be settled by August this year.

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