Yudhoyono`s visit boosts closer ties with Timor Leste
Mon, May 21 2012 05:35 | 1121 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Ten years after East Timorese people had decided to separate from Indonesia, the bilateral relations between Indonesia and the half-island nation called Timor Leste have become very close and sound.
The just-ended two-day working visit of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Timor Leste is seen to have brought the relationship to even a more advanced level as both governments have agreed to strengthen the bilateral ties in various fields, including in the fields of economics, politics, socio-culture and cooperation in many international forums.
The President made the visit to Timor Leste, May 19 and 20, at the invitation of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, among other things to attend the 10th celebration of Timor Leste`s Independence Day, and the inauguration of Timor Leste`s newly elected president Jose Maria Vasconcelos or Taur Matan Ruak on Sunday.
Upon his arrival in the Timor Leste capital city of Dili on Saturday, Yudhoyono held separate bilateral meetings respectively with the then outgoing president Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.
Ramos Horta in the meeting with Yudhoyono said the two countries` cooperation has to be continuously increased since Indonesia is an important partner to Timor Leste.
"We also thank Indonesia for supporting Timor Leste`s membership in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)," he said.
After the meeting, Yudhoyono and Horta witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in various fields.
The Indonesian head of state also received a medal of merit "The Grand Collar of the Order of Timor Leste" from the government of one of the world's smaller countries.
The Timor Leste Government`s appreciation to the government and people of Indonesia for the support and willingness to cooperate with Timor Leste was also expressed by Prime Minister Gusmao when receiving Yudhoyono in a separate meeting.
"Welcome and thank you for the support given to us," he said at the meeting with Yudhoyono at the Palacio de Governor.
Xanana stated that over 7,000 East Timorese are now studying in Indonesia, which he called evidence of how close relations are between the two countries.
The two countries have also forged cooperation in various fields, including education, diplomacy, economy, trade and border crossings.
"We have developed relations in various sectors and today we are strengthening cooperation in the fields of tourism, youth affairs, economics, border crossing permits and others," he said.
President Yudhoyono, meanwhile, said "We have continued increasing various kinds of cooperation in the fields of diplomacy, economy and socio-culture. We are also following up on what has been recommended by the reconciliation commission to settle past problems," he said.
Later in the afternoon, President Yudhoyono and his entourage visited the Santa Cruz cemetery and the Seroja hero`s cemetery where they laid wreaths in honor of Timor Leste heroes, as well as Indonesian soldiers, including Major Ginting, Captain Gustav, Walowolem Riwu, and Marzuki, who died while on duty in East Timor prior to Timor Leste`s independence in May 2002.
The presidential entourage`s members included First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto, Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa, Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan, Industry Minister MS Hidayat, Youth and Sports Affairs Minister Andi Mallarangeng, Minister/State Secretary Sudi Silalahi and Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam.
After midnight, Yudhoyono attended the inauguration ceremony of Taur Matan Ruak, former guerrilla leader and ex-army chief, who was sworn in as Timor Leste`s new president to replace Horta.
Ruak won a run-off election last month that was widely lauded as peaceful and fair in the country of 1.1 million population.
President Ruak, 55, later received President Yudhoyono at Plaza Tasitolu early on Sunday. The 15-minute meeting took place after the country marked the 10th anniversary of its independence.
The meeting between Ruak and Yudhoyono marked the conclusion of Yudhoyono`s visit to the neighboring country.
Upon arrival at Halim Perdanakusuma air force base in east Jakarta, Teuku Faizasyah, President Yudhoyono`s special aide for international affairs and also a member of the presidential entourage, stated: "In essence, the visit ran well."
He said the two nations committed themselves to enhancing bilateral cooperation in the future.
In the past ten years, the relations between the two nations which always put emphasis on forward-looking approaches have made a lot of progress.
"The meeting with newly-elected Timor Leste President Jose Maria Vasconcelos on May 20 will serve as an important momentum for the two leaders to affirm their joint commitment to maintaining the existing good relations between the two countries," he said.
The Letter of Intent (LoI) signed by Indonesia and Timor Leste during Yudhoyono`s visit will lay a basis for further negotiations on regional development through economic integration approaches.
Faizahsyah said the negotiations will be related to technical matters of the planned economic integration.
The concept of economic integration came from Timor Leste to encourage development in its areas bordering Indonesia,
Earlier, on May 7, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Hatta Rajasa said under the concept Timor Leste wanted to integrate its development with the corridor 5 and corridor 6 of the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Growth (MP3EI) program.
The corridor 5, known as Bali-East Nusa Tenggara corridor, focuses on developing the tourism, agricultural and husbandry sectors, while the corridor 6, known as Papua-Maluku corridor, focuses on developing the mining, agricultural and plantation sectors.
Faizahsyah said Indonesia warmly welcomed Timor Leste`s development integration offer on the ground it would serve common interest to develop the regional economy. (*)
Editor: B Kunto Wibisono
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