Subject: SBY Warns Horta of Putting Ties at Risk

The Jakarta Post

Saturday, April 19, 2008

SBY Warns Horta of Putting Ties at Risk

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia arrested three Timor Leste citizens Friday morning for their alleged role in the murder attempt of Timor Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta, but deplored Horta for putting bilateral ties between the neighboring countries at risk.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced the Indonesian police had arrested Egidio Lay Carvalho, Jose Gomes and Ismail Moniz Soares -- all Timor Leste military members who illegally entered Indonesian territory after their unsuccessful assassination attempt.

The President said the arrests were made at the request of the Timor Leste Prosecutor General's Office, which submitted Indonesian police a list of people allegedly involved in the Feb. 11 murder attempt. Horta was shot but survived following medical treatment in Australia.

"We are now waiting for the Timor Leste government's request for the extradition of the suspects, who have allegedly entered our territory," Yudhoyono told a press briefing.

However, he expressed his disappointment with Horta's public statement linking the assassination attempt to "elements" in Indonesia upon his return to Timor Leste from Australia on Thursday.

"It was my fervent hope the leadership of Timor Leste would not issue any statement to insinuate any involvement on part of Indonesia, which may cause confusion or misinterpretation by the international community and for the Indonesian people.

"Statements such as these could disrupt our bilateral relations currently in excellent condition," Yudhoyono said.

Communication between Yudhoyono and Horta began on April 10 when the Timor Leste President briefed his Indonesian counterpart on the investigation into the assassination attempt and possible involvement of people in Australia and Indonesia.

Yudhoyono then instructed National Police Chief Gen. Sutanto to follow up the discussion and sent two high-ranking police officers to Dili on April 13 to collect information from Timor Leste authorities. The officers quickly located the suspects' whereabouts.

"I was surprised to hear President Ramos-Horta's statement yesterday because it was my understanding the telephone conversation from April 10 was not yet to be made public, so that Indonesian police could have the opportunity to hunt down the suspects," Yudhoyono said.

Fortunately, Yudhoyono said, the police arrested three suspects Friday morning.

The President, however, did not say if there were any Indonesian citizens involved in the assassination attempt, although lawmakers and experts have interpreted the Timor Leste President's statement as saying there were.

Despite the disruption in bilateral ties, Yudhoyono said he welcomed the visit of Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to Jakarta on April 29.


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