Subject: RT: E.Timor leader says aims help Indonesia democracy

E.Timor leader says aims help Indonesia democracy

15 Mar 2006 14:50:24 GMT

GENEVA, March 15 (Reuters) - East Timor President Xanana Gusmao said on Wednesday his country aimed to help the development of democracy in Indonesia -- where he spent many years in jail as a fighter for Timorese independence.

He also told a news conference that he saw little point in pressing Jakarta to try military and other officials accused of atrocities in East Timor before it gained independence in 1999, arguing: "Jailing people solves nothing."

"We have to live with Indonesia. We share a border. They are in a difficult democratic process, but they are doing well," he told a news conference during a visit to Geneva for talks with United Nations humanitarian agencies.

"As an independent country, we must help them to consolidate the (democratic) process," declared Gusmao, who was a guerrilla commander during the one-time Portuguese colony's 30-year fight against Indonesian rule.

Gusmao's policy of forgiveness towards his country's former rulers has been criticised by human rights groups, but said he saw no place for revenge.

"We live in peace if we forgive. The other people (Indonesia) live in peace if they acknowledge they made mistakes," he told the news conference.

Critics of his approach say Indonesia has still not formally recognised responsibility for crimes committed there during its 1975-99 occupation.

An independent truth and reconciliation commission has urged Gusmao to push for international trials of Indonesia army chiefs or for reparations, but the president said he wanted to focus on social justice for his people.

"It is easy to say that by punishing someone, you solve the problem. But you don't," he declared. "The better justice we can give the people is good, clean governance, human rights, freedom of speech, and a chance to build a better life."

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