Subject: Gusmao praises Habibie, Gus Dur

Gusmao praises Habibie, Gus Dur

Gusmao praises Habibie for changing policy on East Timor

DARWIN, Australia, Oct 20 (AFP) - East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao praised outgoing Indonesian President B.J. Habibie for his "courage and vision" in paving the way for independence for East Timor.

Gusmao, who is planning to return within a day or two to East Timor for the first time in seven years, also praised the decision by the Indonesian legislature's decision to support independence for East Timor.

"This decision will enable East Timor and Indonesia to develop friendly and mutually beneficial relations as neighbour countries, each facing major challenges on the eve of the new millennium," he said.

The Indonesian national assembly early Wednesday formally accepted East Timor's vote for independence in the August 30 UN-organised ballot, clearing the way for the creation of the world's newest nation.

It was Habibie who announced in January that the ballot on self-determination would be held and that if the East Timorese voted against autonomy under an Indonesian flag then he would let go of the territory invaded by Indonesia in 1975.

Gusmao Salutes 'Friend' Gus Dur's Election as Indonesian President

Darwin, Australia, Oct. 20 (Lusa) - East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao Wednesday welcomed the Indonesian legislature's election of Gus Dur as the country's president, calling him a "friend" and forecasting good relations between the two peoples.

"I want to salute Gus Dur, my friend Gus Dur, as president-elect. I wish him every success in leading Indonesia and great success in the process of bringing democracy to the Indonesian people," Gusmao said in Darwin.

"With the new (Indonesian) government the relations between the Timorese people and the Indonesian people will strengthen in cooperation and good neighborliness," he added. -Lusa-

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