Subject: Lusa: Alatas says Indonesia vote will not impair Dili, Lisbon ties

Also: Gen. Wiranto should be tried in Indonesia, says ex-FM Alatas

East Timor: Ex-Jakarta FM says Indonesia vote will not impair Dili, Lisbon ties

Lisbon, June 3 (Lusa) - Indonesia`s diplomatic relations with East Timor and Portugal will continue to develop, irrespective of the result of Jakarta`s presidential elections next month, former Indonesian foreign minister Ali Alatas said Thursday.

Alatas, speaking on the margins of a Lisbon conference on Europe- Southeast Asia relations, said Jakarta's ties with Timor and Portugal "will not change", whoever becomes Indonesia's leader.

Former Indonesian armed forces commander General Wiranto is running for president. He is allegedly responsible for war crimes committed in Timor around the time of its 1999 breakaway from Jakarta.

Indonesia's relations with Timor, which it annexed and occupied after Portugal`s pullout from its former colony in 1975, "are very good and improving", noted Alatas.

"Our relation is strong and based on historic, geographic and cultural reality and cannot change", he said of his country`s ties with its tiny neighbor.

Earlier, Alatas said Jakarta authorities were investigating Gen.

Wiranto's alleged responsibilities in atrocities committed in Timor and the former defense minister will likely face trial at home.

Alatas, who negotiated Timor`s independence ballot with Portugal and the United Nations, said he had no "personal opinion" on last weekend's meeting between East Timorese President Xanana Gusmão and Wiranto in Bali.

The controversial encounter, where Gusmão and Wiranto embraced for photographers, took place less than three weeks after a special UN-backed court in East Timor issued an arrest warrant against Wiranto on charges of crimes against humanity.

Dili authorities make normalized relations with Indonesia a priority and indicate they do not plan to act on the arrest warrant internationally.

East Timor's foreign minister, José Ramos Horta, who was also in Lisbon, repeated criticism Wednesday of Gusmão's initiative in meeting Wiranto.

He described the Bali encounter as "imprudent" and badly timed, coming so soon ahead of Indonesia's July 5 presidential vote in which Wiranto is a candidate.

Both Alatas and Ramos Horta were in the Portuguese capital on private visits and to participate in the Europe-Southeast Asia conference.

JHM/SAS/CJB Lusa

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East Timor: Gen. Wiranto should be tried in Indonesia, says ex-FM Alatas

Lisbon, June 3 (Lusa) - Indonesian authorities are investigating General Wiranto's alleged responsibilities in atrocities committed in East Timor and the former defense minister will likely face trial at home, Jakarta's former foreign minister, Ali Alatas, has said.

Alatas, speaking to journalists in Lisbon Wednesday after a courtesy call on Portuguese Foreign Minister Teresa Gouveia, said "an investigation" was under way into Gen. Wiranto's actions in East Timor around the time of the territory's 1999 independence plebiscite.

The general, a leading candidate in Indonesia's upcoming presidential election, would have "to resolve his problem", but should only "answer before internal justice" in Indonesia, Alatas said.

The former foreign minister, who negotiated the holding of the Timorese plebiscite with Portugal and the United Nations, said he had no "personal opinion" on last weekend's meeting between East Timorese President Xanana Gusmão and Wiranto in Bali.

The controversial meeting, where Gusmão and Wiranto exchanged an embrace for photographers, took place less than three weeks after a special UN-backed court in East Timor issued an arrest warrant against Wiranto on charges of crimes against humanity.

Authorities in Dili, who make normalized relations with Indonesia a priority, have indicated they did not plan to act on the arrest warrant internationally.

East Timor's foreign minister, José Ramos Horta, who was also in Lisbon, repeated criticism Wednesday of Gusmão's initiative in meeting Wiranto.

He described the Bali encounter as "imprudent" and badly timed, coming so soon ahead of Indonesia's July 5 presidential vote in which Wiranto is a candidate.

Both Alatas and Ramos Horta were in the Portuguese capital on private visits to participate in a conference on relations between Southeast Asia and Europe.


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