Subject: Ramos-Horta Wants Continued Pressure on Indonesia Military

Ramos-Horta Wants Continued Pressure on Indonesia Military

Ramos-Horta wants lifting of Indonesia sanctions

AMSTERDAM, Nov 11 (Reuters) - East Timorese independence leader Jose Ramos-Horta called on Thursday for a lifting of international sanctions imposed on Indonesia in the wake of violence in East Timor but said an arms embargo should stay.

``This is the time to lift any economic and financial sanctions that have been in place, (in order) to help the government of Indonesia,'' Ramos-Horta, in the Netherlands as part of a world tour to drum up international support for the rebuilding of East Timor, told a news conference.

``We want to look to the future, to normalise relations with Indonesia,'' he said, adding he was due to travel to Jakarta for talks later this month as part of a top-level delegation from the Council for Timorese Resistance (CNTR) at the invitation of Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid.

But Ramos-Horta stressed it was too early to drop a ban on arms, munitions and military equipment exports to Indonesia imposed by the European Union in September to push Jakarta into recognising East Timor's August 30 vote for independence.

The embargo is set to expire on January 17 next year, but is open to review.

``As long as there are no serious reforms within the Indonesia armed forces, the embargo should remain in place,'' Ramos-Horta said. ``Aside from the ethics, it is unwise to resume weapon sales.''

He said foreign and development aid ministers in Brussels and The Hague had been ``very positive'' about the need to maintain pressure on the military in Indonesia.

But he conceded he had received no firm assurances the arms embargo would be kept in place.

The Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Thursday it was willing to support East Timor in developing its international relations.

``This support can consist of seminars and training in the areas of diplomacy, international law and international relations,'' the ministry said in a statement.

The training should enable East Timor to maintain independent international relations once the U.N. Transitional Administration for East Timor has left the area, it added.

Indonesia last month withdrew its military from East Timor, where they are alleged to have collaborated with vengeful pro-Jakarta militias in a campaign of terror that wrecked the wrecked the tropical territory.

Hundreds of thousands of East Timor's 800,000 population were forced to flee their homes in the unrest.

Since then a United Nations-led transitional administration, UNTAET, has been installed under the leadership of Sergio Vieira de Mello.

It is charged with preparing East Timor for statehood after its breakaway from Indonesia following 24 years of often brutal rule from Jakarta. Indonesia forcibly annexed Timor after the Portugese colonial rulers withdrew.


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