Subject: Lusa: Dili, Canberra, Jakarta together against threat of
East Timor: Dili, Canberra, Jakarta together against threat of terrorism
Adelaide, Australia, Aug. 25 (Lusa) - The foreign ministers of East Timor, Australia and Indonesia agreed Monday to increase their cooperation in fighting terrorism and cross-border crime.
The ministers, who met for four hours in the Australian city of Adelaide, also announced that Canberra and Jakarta would jointly host an unprecedented regional ministerial meeting early next year to discuss anti-terror measures for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
On the margins of the trilateral discussions, José Ramos Horta of East Timor and Alexander Downer of Australia signed a bilateral agreement for Canberra to aid Dili in confronting potential terrorist threats.
Australia signed a similar accord with Indonesia earlier, following the deadly terrorist bombings on the resort island of Bali last October.
"We want Australia and East Timor to colaborate in this field", Ramos Horta said after the meeting.
While acknowledging that terrorism had not been a "big problem" for East Timor, Ramos Horta stressed that it was necessary "to take precautions and intensify cooperation to the maximum in this part of the globe".
The bilateral accord, he added, centered on Australian aid in training East Timorese in preventing and fighting terrorism, and in the gathering and analysis of intelligence.
The possibility of Australia extending its maritime patrols in the oil- and gas-rich Sea of Timor to East Timorese waters was also on the table, he added.
Downer said guaranteeing "adequate security" for offshore oil and natural gas platforms that are scheduled to go into production next year was a "priority" for Canberra.
Ramos Horta, Downer and their Indonesian counterpart, Hassan Wirajuda, also discussed three-way cooperation in confronting cross- border crime, including piracy, illegal fishing and the trafficking of people, drugs and small arms.
The trilateral meeting, the second such encounter since February 2002, also focused on future scenarios for East Timor, following the scheduled May 2004 end of the United Nations mission in that newly independent.
Downer said Australia was seeking to alter Washington's opposition to an extension, in reduced form, of the UN's civilian and security mission.
Ramos Horta acknowledged that it would be "difficult" to convince some countries to accept an extended UN presence in East Timor.
Despite his country's "successes" since gaining independence in May 2002, the Nobel Peace laureate noted that East Timor continued to face problems requiring international attention and help.