Thursday, March 16, 2006

East Timor supports Indonesia's efforts towards democracy

"East Timorese President Xanana Gusmão says he sees little point in pressing Indonesia to try military and other officials accused of atrocities in East Timor before it gained independence in 1999.

Mr Gusmão says he is more interested in helping the development of democracy in Indonesia.

During a visit to Geneva, Switzerland for talks with United Nations humanitarian agencies, the president said as an independent country, East Timor must help consolidate the democratic process.

"We have to live with Indonesia," he said. "We share a border. "They are in a difficult democratic process, but they are doing well."

Following 24 years of Indonesian rule, East Timorese chose to become independent in a 1999 referendum.

Before and after the vote, militia gangs, allegedly directed by Indonesian army officers, killed about 1,400 people.

An independent truth and reconciliation commission has urged the president to push for international trials of Indonesian army chiefs or for reparations.

However, Mr Gusmao says he wants to focus on social justice for his people.

"We live in peace if we forgive." "The other people [Indonesia] live in peace if they acknowledge they made mistakes."

"The better justice we can give the people is good, clean governance, human rights, freedom of speech, and a chance to build a better life."

Critics of Mr Gusmao's approach say Indonesia has still not formally recognised responsibility for crimes committed there during its 1975-99 occupation."

Source: Unknown (from UNOTIL Public Information Office, Daily Media Review)
Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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