Subject: East Timor Leaders Welcome Indonesia's New Cabinet

Associated Press August 10, 2001

East Timor Leaders Welcome Indonesia's New Cabinet

DILI, East Timor (AP)--East Timorese leaders Friday welcomed the inauguration of Indonesia's new government, but expressed concern that the inclusion of military officials may hinder efforts to prosecute those responsible for atrocities in the territory.

East Timor's main human rights group, Yayasan Hak, said the appointment of retired general A.M. Hendroprioyono as the head of the national intelligence agency was worrying because of his links with East Timorese militia groups in 1999.

"He was known to have been present during meetings in East Timor when the militia were established," said spokesman Joaquim Fonseca.

Indonesia's new President Megawati Sukarnoputri installed on Friday a 32-member Cabinet, made up of a mix of political party figures and economic experts. It was welcomed by analysts and financial markets who believe the combination will help bring stability to the crisis-ridden nation.

In the past, Yayasan Hak has criticized Megawati's support for pro-Jakarta militia during the 1999 independence vote. The group says that her close military ties mean it is unlikely she will bring to justice Indonesian generals responsible for masterminding the violence.

"It is worrying for...the process of democracy in Indonesia that those generals who were part of a long-standing authoritarian government are given new political roles," said Fonseca.

But Mari Alkatiri, vice president of East Timor's largest political party, played down the importance of Hendropriyono's appointment, saying it was unlikely that he would remain in the Cabinet for long.

"I hope (Megawati) follows the example of Gus Dur to get the military out of politics," he said, referring to former President Abdurrahman Wahid by his nickname.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's appointment as chief security minister was welcomed because of the former general's close ties with East Timor's independence leader Xanana Gusmao.

"They have a good relationship. Maybe the security along the border will improve," said David Ximenes, a former resistance leader.


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