Subject: AFP: E Timor to cooperate with Wiranto if elected

Sunday, May 2, 2004. 1:20am (AEST)

E Timor to cooperate with Wiranto if elected

East Timor President Xanana Gusmao says his country will cooperate with former general Wiranto, indicted for crimes against humanity in the territory, if he was elected Indonesian president.

"We will support anyone who is elected democratically in the July presidential election (in Indonesia), including Wiranto," Gusmao told a news conference.

He said good relations between Indonesia and East Timor would not be affected if Wiranto came to power.

Wiranto has been indicted by prosecutors in East Timor for crimes against humanity connected with the territory's bloody split from Indonesia in 1999.

He has been selected as the presidential candidate for the Golkar Party, which ruled Indonesia for 35 years under former president Suharto. Golkar has claimed victory in the April 5 parliamentary election.

United Nations-funded prosecutors in East Timor indicted Wiranto last year and are seeking an arrest warrant.

They say that as army chief Wiranto failed to curb atrocities by army-backed militiamen against independence supporters in 1999. He says he did his best to avoid bloodshed.

More than 1,400 people were killed in the then-Indonesian province before and after East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence.

Indonesia will hold its first direct presidential election on July 5. Opinion polls show another former general, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is favoured to win.


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