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Presidential Summit in Bali

President Yudhoyono and President Xanana Gusmao Meet in Bali to Mend Fences and Strengthen Relations Between Indonesia and East Timor.

(2/20/2006) Bali's Presidential hill-top retreat at Tampaksiring was the scene for a meeting between Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and East Timor’s President Xanana Gusmao on Friday, February 17, 2006.

During the meeting the two leaders met with representatives of the international Truth and Friendship Commission (KKP) - established by both men to explore and document atrocities committed during the 25 year long East Timor Independence struggle.

The meeting was also an opportunity for both leaders to mend fences following the recent killing of Indonesians killed by East Timorese officials along the border separating the two countries.

The 2,500-page KKP report, compiled by a blue ribbon team of 8 Indonesians and 8 East Timorese, carried wide-ranging findings, including allegations that the Indonesian military used napalm and widespread use of torture, rape and sexual abuse as a means of oppressing pro-independence supporters.

Eager to put historical difficulties in the past, Gusmao, a former guerilla fighter, had initially sought to prevent publishing the report critical of Indonesia, preferring to focus on better relations with his Indonesian neighbors in the future.

Sharing a similar view, East Timor's Foreign Minister, Ramos Horta, has rejected suggestions in the report that East Timor seek compensation from Australia and the United States for both active and passive support of alleged Indonesian militia violence in East Timor. Horta termed the report's recommendation as "outlandish," asking: "How on earth could a leader from East Timor, or the foreign minister, go to Australia and ask for compensation when I know that without Australian leadership in 1999 and in the following years of its commitment to East Timor, East Timor would not be safe today?"

Both President Yudhoyono and his East Timorese counterpart Gusmao enjoy a strong personal rapport. During the Bali meeting, East Timor said it endorsed Indonesia's desire for membership in the United Nations Security Council and recent suggestions that Indonesia's President be nomiated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Also attending the Bali bi-lateral meetings were Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo AS; Minister of Foreign Affairs Wirajudha; Minister for State Secretary Yusril Ihza Mahendra; Cabinet Secretary Sudi Silalahi; National Police Chief Gen. Sutanto; and incoming Indonesian Defense Forces Commander Air Marshal Djoko Suyanto.

 

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