Subject: AFP: Indonesia to seek compensation for assets in E.Timor during meeting

Also: Indonesian Foreign Minister Visits East Timor

September 04, 2003

Indonesia to seek compensation for assets in E.Timor during meeting

JAKARTA (AFP): Indonesia will seek compensation for its nationals who lost property in East Timor when ministers from both countries meet in Dili for two days of talks beginning Friday, an Indonesian official said.

"But having said that I think we are open to any win-win type of solution to this situation, not wishing to prolong it any further than what is required," Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa told reporters.

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda is to leave for the East Timor capital Friday morning to join the second Joint Commission meeting. It will discuss a variety of isues including the border, legal issues, finance, trade, education, culture, transportation and communication.

Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 and relinquished control in October 1999 after East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence. Militias armed and organised by the Indonesian military carried out a campaign of terror ahead of the ballot.

The militias and security forces then waged a scorched-earth policy that left much of the territory in ruins, at least 1,000 people dead, and more than 200,000 Timorese temporarily displaced as refugees across the border in Indonesian West Timor.

After 31 months of UN stewardship, East Timor became independent in May 2002.

Natalegawa said Indonesia wants "proper compensation" for its citizens who lost property in East Timor. There are good prospects of a "win-win" solution for private companies whose assets could be turned into equities in partnership with East Timorese, he said. Conflicting claims from Portuguese, Indonesian and now East Timorese rule make individual assets more complicated, he said.

"So we are keen to ensure that talks in Dili will be able to find a solution to this issue," he told reporters.

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

Indonesian Foreign Minister Visits East Timor

DILI, East Timor, Sept. 5 (AP)--A high-level delegation led by Indonesian Foreign Minister Hasan Wirayuda arrived Friday in East Timor, its former possession, to discuss issues including border security, trade and property compensation.

Relations between the two countries, whose separation in 1999 was marred by widespread violence led by the Indonesian army and affiliated militia gangs, have improved significantly.

"It is necessary to create a conducive political climate so that (East Timor) can continue to develop," said Makaraim Wibisono, an Indonesian representative.

The agenda for the talks will also include the repatriation of remaining East Timorese refugees who in 1999 crossed over into Indonesian-run West Timor, he said.

East Timorese officials say they want to discuss several issues including property rights and pensions for East Timorese, joint border patrols on land and sea, and unfettered access to Oecussi, an isolated enclave inside Indonesia that belongs to East Timor.

A U.N. multinational force currently patrols the border between East and West Timor, but is scheduled to hand over duties next year to East Timor's newly formed army.

East Timorese leaders, including President Xanana Gusmao, have repeatedly emphasized that good relations with Indonesia are crucial for East Timor's stability and economic development.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and ruled it with an iron hand until 1999. East Timor gained full independence in May 2002 after a period of transitional rule by the United Nations.

-Edited by Kevin Lim


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