Subject: Jakarta Gives Gusmao Red Carpet Welcome

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

Gusmao hopes for better relations with Indonesia 
East Timor Leader Visits Indonesia

Agence France-Presse July 2, 2002

East Timor's Gusmao gets red-carpet welcome from former ruler Indonesia

Indonesia rolled out the red carpet for the man it once jailed as a subversive as Xanana Gusmao arrived in the capital for his first visit as president of newly independent East Timor.

A smiling Gusmao was garlanded and given a 21-gun salute and honour guard on arrival Tuesday at the palace for talks with President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Gusmao and Megawati, flanked by their spouses Kirsty Sword-Gusmao and Taufik Kiemas, stood at attention for the two national anthems before inspecting a guard of honour dressed in red and white ceremonial uniforms.

Gusmao, a former guerrilla chief jailed for seven years by Jakarta, bowed deeply to the two national flags, which also lined the main street in front of the palace. Portraits of the two leaders were erected at a busy intersection.

The two then began talks as their delegations held a separate meeting.

A joint communique on diplomatic relations was due to be signed by East Timor's Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta and his Indonesian counterpart Hassan Wirayuda.

East Timor became independent on May 20 after 24 years of often brutal Indonesian occupation and 32 months under UN stewardship.

Among contentious issues to be discussed will be Jakarta's compensation claim for assets left behind in the territory.

East Timor rejects the claim, saying both sides should wipe the slate clean after the suffering which its people endured under Indonesia's rule.

Gusmao is accompanied by five ministers as well as his wife and baby son, Alexander.

He is scheduled to meet top security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda Tuesday afternoon and attend a state banquet.

On Wednesday Gusmao will lay a wreath at the "Heroes' Cemetery" and meet the heads of the two legislatures, Amien Rais and Akbar Tanjung.

He leaves Wednesday afternoon for Makassar in Sulawesi, where he will Thursday address a seminar on prospects for economic cooperation between eastern Indonesia and East Timor.

Gusmao, who has laid stress on reconciliation, had planned to make his first trip as president to Indonesia in May to symbolise a new era in relations.

But Jakarta postponed the visit due to what it described as a scheduling problem and the East Timorese leader has since visited South Korea and Australia.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and ruled it until 1999, when the transitional United Nations administration took over.

Pro-Jakarta local militiamen, backed by Indonesian military elements, waged a campaign of intimidation before the territory's August 1999 independence vote and a violent revenge campaign afterwards.

At least 1,000 people were killed and more than 250,000 East Timorese either fled or were forced across the border into Indonesian West Timor. Fewer than 50,000 are still in Indonesia.

In June a delegation from Jakarta visited the new state for talks on the assets claim and other issues. They agreed to form a joint committee to look into the issue.

Indonesia spent millions of dollars on infrastructure during its rule, which also cost at least 100,000 East Timorese lives.

Gusmao hopes for better relations with Indonesia

By Rudy Madanir

JAKARTA, July 2 (Kyodo) - East Timor President Xanana Gusmao on Tuesday expressed hopes for better relations with Indonesia, the former ruler of East Timor, with the recent establishment of full diplomatic ties.

''Indonesia and East Timor will build a climate of friendship and peace to help bring a better future,'' Gusmao said at a joint press conference with Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Gusmao, who arrived in Jakarta earlier in the day on a state visit, also thanked Megawati for attending East Timor's independence day celebrations May 20 and expressed his gratitude for the help Indonesia has offered to the fledgling country so far.

After arriving from the resort island of Bali, where he stayed overnight, Gusmao held talks with Megawati and then led his delegation in an expanded bilateral meeting with the Indonesian side.

He was accompanied by Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Ramos-Horta and five other cabinet members.

Witnessed by the two presidents, the foreign ministers of the two countries signed a joint communique on the establishment of diplomatic relations and a memorandum of understanding on the creation of a joint commission to discuss bilateral issues.

According to Indonesian Foreign Minister Hasan Wirajuda, the communique shows that both countries agree to ''upgrade'' the current diplomatic relationship with the opening of embassies in each other's country.

''About the procedure on how and when to open the embassies, it will be discussed in the joint commission,'' Hasan said, adding that the commission will consist of ministerial-level and senior officials.

Hasan also said the joint commission is expected to solve residual problems, including the issue of refugees, assets, and land and sea borders.

Megawati said the government offered to collaborate with East Timor in the fields of energy, transportation and trade.

''Especially for trade, the process of supplying products to East Timor from Makasar and Surabaya has been underway,'' Megawati said, referring to two Indonesian cities that are vital for the supply of East Timor's basic necessities.

She also mentioned that the road linking East Timor and Indonesian-controlled West Timor has been opened to improve cross-border trade.

Gusmao, who was sworn in as East Timor's first president just after the country declared independence, will stay in Indonesia until Thursday, one day earlier than the initial plan.

He was initially scheduled to visit Jakarta in late May but the trip was postponed as Indonesia sought more time to make arrangements.

Upon arrival in the Indonesian capital, Gusmao, who was once jailed in Jakarta for seven years for leading an independence movement, received a full military welcome with a 21-gun salute.

East Timor's flags were flown alongside Indonesian flags in Jakarta for the first time, being raised in front of the palace and in several locations along the capital's main thoroughfares.

East Timor gained independence after more than four centuries as a Portuguese colony, interrupted by three-and-a-half years of Japanese occupation, 24 years of Indonesian occupation and two and a half years of U.N. rule.

The people of East Timor voted in favor of independence in the U.N.-organized referendum in 1999.

East Timor Leader Visits Indonesia


JAKARTA, Indonesia, July 2 (AP) - East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao - who spent seven years in jail in Indonesia for leading his country's independence struggle - said Tuesday the two nations will work to improve bilateral ties.

Gusmao received a 21-gun salute at the state palace before meeting Indonesian leader Megawati Sukarnoputri on his first official visit to Indonesia since becoming head of state.

During his five-day visit, Gusmao will meet Cabinet ministers and politicians to discuss border issues, compensation for Indonesian-owned property remaining in East Timor and the fate of up to 40,000 East Timorese refugees still in Indonesia.

``I would also like to thank the readiness of the Indonesian government in helping us as a new nation,'' Gusmao said. ``There were lots of inputs on how to cooperate between the two countries to resolve residual issues.''

Gusmao has repeatedly emphasized that good relations with neighboring country is crucial for East Timor's stability and economic development.

Megawati said they had ``very warm and useful discussions'' on increasing trade, and improving cooperation in transportation and energy.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and ruled it with an iron hand until 1999, when a U.N.-sponsored referendum resulted in a vote for independence.

Gusmao, who commanded the guerrilla army resisting the occupation, was captured in 1992. He remained in jail in Jakarta until the 1999 plebiscite, which was followed by an orgy of violence unleashed by Indonesian forces as they withdrew from the territory.

At least 1,000 people were killed and about 250,000 forced to flee their homes.

International peacekeepers stopped the bloodshed and a U.N. administration ran East Timor until May, when it gained full independence.

Megawati traveled to East Timor's capital of Dili on May 20 to attend the independence ceremonies.

Several Indonesian military officers are currently on trial in Jakarta on charges that they instigated the violence in 1999.

On Tuesday, state prosecutors indicted four more defendants - including former regional military commander Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri.

Barman Zahir, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, said Damiri and three other officers were accused of failing to prevent the bloodshed.

The four are among 18 officers and government officials named as suspects last year by a government human rights probe.

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