Subject: AN: Australia, Indonesia to form tripart forum on ET

Antara - The Indonesian National News Agency

November 28, 2001

INDONESIA, A'LIA TO FORM TRIPARTITE FORUM ON E TIMOR

Canberra, Nov 28 (ANTARA) - Indonesia and Australia will set up a tripartite consultative forum to help East Timor solve problems that may arise in its transformation into an independent state, Indonesian Foreign Minister Hasan Wirayuda said here Wedensday.

Hasan made the statement at a press conference after concluding a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer who also attended the press conference.

Hasan said the first meeting of the tripartite consultative forum was expected to be held early next year.

He said similar consultative meetings between Indonesian and East Timorese officials had already taken place in the recent past.

However, a tripartite meeting involving Australia would give more benefit to all parties, he said.

Downer, meanwhile, said the Australian government hailed the Indonesian proposal for the setting up of the tripartite forum.

"I HOPE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE THREE NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES WILL DEVELOP WELL IN THE FUTURE," HE SAID.

HE SAID HE WOULD DISCUSS THE MATTER WITH EAST TIMOR'S FORIEGN MINISTER Ramos Horta next week.

Hasan said the question of Indonesian assets in East Timor had been discussed at a meeting between Indonesian and East Timorese officials.

He said Indonesia would provide scholarships for East Timorese people who wished to study in Indonesia.

"WE WILL FORM A FOUNDATION WITH THE HELP OF THE FORD FOUNDATION THAT will provide bigger financial resources for the academic activities of East TIMORESE STUDENTS," HE SAID.

Hasan arrived here in the morning for a three-day visit, accompanied by director for Asia Pacific affairs Yusbar Djamil and director for international organizations Marty Natalegawa.

INDONESIA'S RELATIONS WITH AUSTRALIA HAVE NOT BEEN HARMONIOUS LATELY BECAUSE OF DIFFERENCES IN THE TWO COUNTRIES' POLICIES PARTICULARLY OVER the Tampa case of migrants and the U.S. attack on Afghanistan.

During the visit, Hasan would discuss bilateral, regional as well as international issues, including efforts to fight human smuggling and the planned regional conference on transnational crimes next year.

The issues of people-smuggling and illegal immigrants have become a great problem for Australia but have also benefitted Prime Minister Howard who successfully brought his coalition to victory in a federal election last November 10.

HASAN'S VISIT TO AUSTRALIA IS HIS FIRST SINCE HIS APPOINTMENT AS FOREIGN minister.


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