Subject: UN Officials: Indon Denied Visas To Human Rights Team

also: Indonesian President Abdurrahman discusses East Timor issue with Thai PM

Associated Press November 8, 1999

UN Officials: Indonesia Denied Visas To Human Rights Team

DILI, East Timor (AP)--U.N. officials Monday accused Indonesia of denying visas to investigators looking into reports of human rights abuses in East Timor. But the Indonesian government denied receiving the visa applications.

Asma Jahangir, a U.N. expert dealing with arbitrary executions, said the Indonesian government told members of her delegation they could not enter Indonesian-held West Timor, where about 200,000 East Timorese refugees have taken shelter.

U.N. investigators want to look into abuses both in East Timor and at refugee camps in West Timor.

Speaking at a news conference in Dili, the capital of East Timor, Jahangir said the U.N. team's visa request was submitted to authorities in Jakarta.

She said some staff members were given visas but that the leaders of the delegations were not.

However, a spokesman for the immigration department in Jakarta said it had not yet received the visa applications.

"If we do receive them, we have no reason to reject them," said Laodatre, who, like many Indonesians, uses only one name.

The refugees fled to West Timor after pro-Jakarta militias went on a rampage, destroying property and forcing people from their homes in the aftermath of the Aug. 30 referendum in which the majority of East Timorese voters opted for independence.

An international peacekeeping force arrived Sept. 20 to restore order, and Indonesia since has ceded the territory to the U.N., which will administer the territory until it is ready for self-rule.

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Asia Pulse Monday, November 8

Indonesian President Abdurrahman discusses East Timor issue with Thai PM

Indonesia's new president, President Abdurrahman Wahid, has told Thailand that Indonesia would not object to Thailand and other ASEAN members taking part in a UN peacekeeping force for East Timor.

He said this during a meeting with Thai Prime Minister, Chuan Leekpai in Bangkok.

Mr Abdurrahman was there as part of an inaugural tour of nine South East Asian nations, since taking office over two weeks ago.

The meeting between the two leaders was dominated by talks on the future of East Timor.

In response to Mr Abdurrahman's call for Thailand to support East Timor's bid for an ASEAN membership, Mr Chuan said that he would discuss the issue jointly with other members when it is time to do so.

Thailand is currently serving as second-in-command of an Australian-led mission which entered East Timor, to quell violence blamed on pro-Jakarta militias, which erupted after the territory voted for independence from Indonesia on August 30.

Mr Chuan in turn said that Thailand would like to see Indonesian troops in the force.

On economic matters, the new President said he intended to be more open to Thai products, adding that a ministerial delegation would be dispatched to Bangkok next month to discuss economic cooperation.

Earlier yesterday, he stopped over in the Myanmar capital, Yangon where he met with the ruling military council.

But he said he decided not to meet Myanmar opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, "out of respect for the wishes of Myanmar's ruling generals".

The new Indonesian leader will visit Laos and Cambodia on Monday.

In his first official visit to Myanmar, Indonesia's new president, Abdurrahman Wahid, promised the country's military rulers that Indonesia would stay out of Myanmar's internal affairs.

Instead, Mr Abdurrahman and Myanmar's leader, Senior General Than Shwe, chose to discuss economic cooperation and long-term ties between Indonesia and Myanmar.

He left for Bangkok without meeting opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, even though he had hinted last week that he would like to meet her.

He said that although he respected Aung San Suu Kyi, he is equally respectful of the rulers of the country.

Mr Abdurrahman stressed that while he and Ms Aung San Suu Kyi were both fighting for democracy, their principles are different.

The Thai Prime Minister reiterated his support for the ASEAN principle of non-interference in the affairs of a fellow member state.

But he said he hoped Thailand could be a "gate" to outside countries for its military-ruled neighbour.

Relations between Thailand and Myanmar have plunged in recent months with Yangon livid at Thailand's handling of a hostage crisis at its embassy in Bangkok.


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