Subject: JP: Yogyakarta-educated priest becomes Timor's first ambassador to RI

Also: Yogyakarta-educated priest becomes E. Timor's first ambassador to RI

East Timor names first ambassador to Indonesia

February 9 2003 The Sun-Herald

A Protestant minister became East Timor's first ambassador to its former colonial ruler Indonesia, the Indonesian foreign ministry said yesterday.

Arlindo Marcal, who studied theology in central Java, began his tenure by meeting Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri in Jakarta on Friday.

Marti Natalegawa, Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman, said key bilateral issues to be addressed include border disputes, compensation for formerly Indonesian-owned property in East Timor and how to reimburse the retirement funds of up to 30,000 East Timorese who worked as Indonesian civil servants.

"We hope the ambassador can help to work out these leftover issues," said Natalegawa. He said Indonesia has yet to appoint its envoy to East Timor.

East Timor's Prime Minister Mari Al-Katiri is scheduled to visit Indonesia in March, Natalegawa said.

Al-Katiri has said he would also bring up security issues during his visit, such as the return of pro-Indonesia militias from West Timor - an Indonesian province neighbouring East Timor.

East Timor was a Portuguese colony before Indonesia invaded in 1975 and ruled it, often brutally, for 24 years.

Pro-Indonesia militias ravaged East Timor when its people voted for independence in an August 1999 referendum.

The country gained full independence last year after a period of transitional rule by the United Nations.


February 08, 2003

Yogyakarta-educated priest becomes E. Timor's first ambassador to RI

Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

East Timor's first ambassador to Indonesia, Protestant minister Arlindo Marcal, presented his credentials to President Megawati Soekarnoputri on Friday.

Arlindo, who earned his master's in theology from Duta Wacana University in Yogyakarta in 1987, presented his credentials to the President during a simple ceremony at the Merdeka Palace.

Accompanying the President was Minister of Foreign Affairs Hassan Wirayuda.

"The government appreciates his (Arlindo) appointment as he is close to many Indonesian government officials," Hassan said after the ceremony.

Hassan also noted that Arlindo's appointment as ambassador could be seen as "a sign of pluralism in the predominantly Catholic country".

The foreign minister said he was confident Arlindo would have good relations with Indonesian officials, because after studying for years in Java he spoke fluent Bahasa Indonesia and "maybe he speaks Javanese as well".

East Timor separated from Indonesia in 1999 when a wide majority of East Timorese cast their vote for independence during a UN-sponsored ballot. In the presence of a number of world leaders, including former U.S. president Bill Clinton and Megawati, East Timor declared its independence as a republic state on May. 20, 2002, with Dili as its capital.

The East Timor Embassy is located in the Surya Building on Jl. Thamrin in Central Jakarta.

Jakarta and Dili have set up a team to deal with the question of Indonesian assets in East Timor, and to seek possible bilateral cooperation between the two countries in all fields.

"We are planning to hold a second consultation meeting immediately with Dili and Canberra to solve the remaining problems between East Timor and Indonesia and Australia. A number of the problems were solved in the previous meeting," Hassan said.

When asked about how soon it would be before Indonesia sent an ambassador to East Timor, Hassan said the government was waiting for political support from the House of Representatives.

The Indonesian government has responded positively to Dili's stated intention to invite Indonesian businesspeople to invest in East Timor.

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