Subject: Indonesia, Portugal to restore diplomatic ties Tuesday

Indonesia, Portugal to restore diplomatic ties

JAKARTA, Dec 28 (AFP) - Indonesia and Portugal are to sign a document in New York later Tuesday to restore ties between the two countries, severed 24 years ago after Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, a minister said here.

The Indonesian envoy to the United Nations, Makarim Wibisono, and his Portuguese counterpart, Antonio Monterio, will sign a joint communique in New York early Tuesday on "the reopening of ties between the Indonesian Republic and Portugal," Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab said.

"The signing will be done at 9:00 pm our time, which is 9:00 am New York time," Shihab said.

Announcing the signing at his office here, he said "if the Portuguese wants to reestablish their embassy here, they are welcome to do so."

In Lisbon, a Portuguese foreign ministry spokesman confirmed the announcement.

Lisbon severed ties after the December 1975 invasion of East Timor by Indonesian troops. Indonesia unilaterally declared the territory its 27th province in 1976.

Portuguese traders landed in East Timor almost 500 years ago and placed the territory under direct rule in the early 18th century.

Jakarta in October relinquished authority over East Timor to the United Nations after its legislature ratified the results of a UN-held ballot on self-determination in which East Timorese voted overwhelmingly to break away from Indonesia.

"Indonesia is always keen to develop friendly relations with all countries as long as it is based on the principles of equality, mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs, and visible partnership," Shihab said.

Part of Indonesia's advantage of re-establishing ties with Portugal was "hopefully to convince them to understand our position regarding war tribunal in East Timor," Shihab said.

Several of Indonesia's high-ranking military generals -- including powerful General Wiranto -- have been indirectly accused by Indonesian and UN rights investigations of masterminding the massive rape, killings and burning in East Timor after it voted to secede from Indonesia on August 30.

A UN commission of inquiry which has visited East Timor is scheduled to report on its findings to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan by December 31.

Indonesian has refused such a tribunal and has instead set up its own inquiry team.

Annan is to make a recommendation to the UN General Assembly as to the necessary steps to be taken in East Timor, including on whether an international war crimes tribunal was necessary.

"Hopefully they will be convinced to be on our side," Shihab said.

He added the signing of the communique in New York was in accordance with a directive of the Indonesian parliament.

The parliament, he said, had demanded any resumption of relations with Portugual should carry no prerequisites and Indonesia should not take the pro-active role.


Gusmao hails restoration of ties between Jakarta and Lisbon

LISBON, Dec 28 (AFP) - East Timor independence leader Xanana Gusmao said Tuesday he was glad Indonesia and Portugual were to restore diplomatic ties. "We greet with great joy the possibility of restoring diplomatic relations, especially as I was a defender of the opening of a Portuguese mission to Jakarta," Gusmao told Portuguese agency Lusa in East Timor's capital Dili.

"It's the natural result of the developments," he said.

Indonesia and Portugal will formally restore diplomatic relations at a ceremony at UN headquarters in New York later Tuesday.

Portugal, East Timor's former colonial ruling power, severed ties with Jakarta after Indonesia invaded the territory in December 1975 and unilaterally annexed East Timor the following year.

Jakarta relinquished authority over East Timor in October after a UN-sponsored ballot on self-determination.

----- Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 10:36:37 -0500 (EST) From: "Sharon R.A. Scharfe" <> Message-Id: <> Mime-Version: 1.0 Precedence: bulk Reply-To: "Sharon R.A. Scharfe" <> Sender: Subject: Lusa: Resumption of Ties With Jakarta Important for East Timor, says PM Guterres To: X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by id HAA10052 X-Mailer: Windows Eudora Pro Version 2.2 (16) X-Sender:

29 Dec 99 10:49 Portugal/East Timor: Resumption of Ties With Jakarta Important for East Timor, says PM Guterres

Klina, Kosovo, Dec. 29 (Lusa) - Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that the renewal of diplomatic ties between Portugal and Indonesia would aid the interests of East Timor. Guterres spoke to journalists Tuesday during a visit to Portuguese troops stationed in Kosovo. "It is impossible for East Timor to live with stability if Indonesia does not cooperate. The re-establishment of diplomatic relations is an important instrument for the normalization of relations between Jakarta and East Timor", he said. In East Timor, independence leader Xanana Gusmao welcomed Tuesday the news that Portugal and Indonesia had re-established diplomatic relations. Gusmao recalled that during recent talks with Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid in Jakarta, he had discussed the eventual opening of a CNRT (National Council of Timorese Resistance) mission in the Indonesian capital. Wahid in turn asked to open an Indonesian mission in Dili in January or February, Gusmao said. Lisbon and Jakarta formally re-established diplomatic relations on Tuesday, ending a 24-year hiatus dating to the Dec. 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor, a former Portuguese colony.

Back to December Menu
World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu

Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter V3.5.8, is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from