|Subject: KY: Koizumi Meets ET Leaders
Also: Text of joint statement of East Timor chief minister, Japanese prime minister
JAPAN'S KOIZUMI MEETS EAST TIMOR LEADERS, HAILS INDEPENDENCE
Source: Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 0705 gmt 29 Apr 02
Dili, 29 April: Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid a half-day visit to East Timor on Monday 29 April and offered its leaders congratulations on the fledgling country's impending independence.
Koizumi was met at the airport by former guerrilla leader and independence hero Xanana Gusmao, who won a landslide victory in the 14 April presidential election, and hundreds of East Timorese schoolchildren waving Japanese flags.
The two leaders were joined by Sergio Vierra de Mello, the outgoing Brazilian chief of the UN administration set up after the 1999 referendum, for a meeting in the capital Dili.
Koizumi congratulated Gusmao on his election victory, and said East Timor must now strive towards national reconciliation and the return of refugees, said Japanese Foreign Ministry officials.
Koizumi also said he hopes the dispatch of a Japanese Ground Self-Defence Force (GSDF) team to the region will help ensure stability and contribute to nation building, and stressed that while Japan may be an economic power, it will never become a military power, according to the officials.
Gusmao welcomed the GSDF dispatch and asked for Japan's continued assistance in East Timor's nation-building efforts, said the officials.
Koizumi told the president-elect that Japan will do all it can to assist East Timor, but stressed that forging good relations with its neighbours was crucial for the country's future stability and growth, they said.
Foreign Ministry officials said Japanese aid to East Timor will be directed in four main areas - human resource development, education, development of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and rehabilitation and development of infrastructure.
The Japanese premier also met with Mari Alkatiri, chief minister in the transitional government and tipped to become independent East Timor's first prime minister, along with veteran independence campaigner and 1996 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, who handles East Timor's foreign policy.
Alkatiri thanked Japan for its assistance, which has totalled some 120m dollars since December 1999, and told Koizumi he has been working to reduce the transitional government's deficit, and asked for Japan's continued fiscal aid to support these efforts, said officials...
East Timor is the second leg of Koizumi's week-long regional tour that took him to Vietnam on Saturday 27 April and Sunday. He will visit Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday through Thursday...
The GSDF personnel are among 690 deployed to the half-island territory in March and early April as part of the largest and most heavily armed Japanese contingent ever to take part in a UN peacekeeping operation.
Koizumi said in the statement that Japan is keen to see "a comprehensive solution" to the issue of East Timorese refugees, including their repatriation from Indonesia and progress in the sensitive area of achieving national reconciliation...
Japanese officials said Tokyo has donated one million dollars to East Timor's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation, established in January to probe human rights violations committed during 1999 and in the preceding years of Indonesian occupation, and to support the reintegration of less-serious offenders into their communities.
Japan has also been a major contributor to the international effort to reconstruct East Timor in the wake of the deadly post-ballot rampage that left the territory in ruins.
Tokyo has voiced concern about possible future friction between Gusmao and Alkatiri, as well as their respective supporters, and has stressed the importance of solidarity among East Timor's leaders.
Text of joint statement of East Timor chief minister, Japanese prime minister
Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 0517 gmt 29 Apr 02
Text of report in English by Japanese news agency Kyodo
Dili, 29 April: Following is the full text of a joint press statement issued following talks Monday between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Mari Alkatiri, chief minister of East Timor Public Administration.
Joint press statement
On April 29, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, during his visit to East Timor, held meetings with SRSG Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Sergio Vieira De Mello, President-elect Xanana Gusmao and Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri. They had fruitful exchanges of views on the future relationship between Japan and East Timor.
At the meeting with Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi extended his sincere congratulations on East Timor's becoming a new member of the international community as the first independent state of this century.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri highly appreciated the role played by the UN during East Timor's transition to independence and in particular its assistance to East Timor's nation-building.
Japan has dispatched its Self-Defence Forces Engineer Group to UNTAET United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor , with a view to assisting the latter's work. Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri welcomed Japan's participation in UNTAET.
Japan, recognizing that the stability of East Timor is important for that of the Asia-Pacific region, held the first Donors' Meeting on East Timor in Tokyo in December 1999.
Since then Japan has been actively implementing the 130m US dollars worth of rehabilitation and development, and humanitarian assistance which it had pledged in the meeting.
In addition, Japan has supported a number of projects for repatriation of refugees and national reconciliation in East Timor for the comprehensive solution of the refugees' issue.
Furthermore, Japan continues to make as much assistance as possible for the success of the Independence Day Celebrations on 20 May.
Based on Japan's contributions to East Timor noted above, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi expressed that Japan would continue to actively support East Timor's national reconciliation and nation-building for achieving sustainability.
Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri expressed his appreciation for Japan's cordiality reflected in its active support for East Timor's national reconciliation and nation-building.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri expressed their common determination to cooperate to establish a favourable and close future-oriented relationship between Japan and East Timor after its independence.
Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri stated that after achieving its independence, East Timor, as a member of the international community, is willing to build good relations with neighbouring countries.
In response, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi expressed Japan's willingness to make its utmost efforts to create such an environment in the region.
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