Subject: SMH: Belo scuttles Gusmao's bid to woo Indonesia

Sydney Morning Herald

Belo scuttles Gusmao's bid to woo Indonesia

By Jill Jolliffe in Dili September 11, 2003

A bid by East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao to further his campaign for reconciliation with Indonesia came apart yesterday when Jakarta's former foreign minister, Ali Alatas, was criticised during a visit to Dili by Bishop Carlos Belo and subjected to hostile questioning by the local press.

The 70-year-old diplomat's first visit to independent East Timor began triumphantly.

He was embraced by both Mr Gusmao and the Foreign Minister, Jose Ramos Horta, while dodging questions on human rights violations during Indonesia's occupation from 1975 until 1999.

There was mutual agreement the subject would not be raised, though, in an interview with the Herald, he admitted there had been violations. "It was a nasty little war . . . There were acts committed by either side," he said.

Now an adviser to President Megawati Soekarnoputri, Mr Alatas was keynote speaker at a seminar organised by Mr Gusmao's office. In chairing the meeting, Mr Gusmao disallowed any questions referring to past Indonesian behaviour.


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