Indonesia + 1 more

UN, Indonesia sign border accord on East Timor

Relations between East Timor and Indonesia were given new impetus Tuesday after the Indonesian delegation headed by President Abdurrahman Wahid signed a joint communique with the United Nations mission to permit passage of people and goods between East Timor and Indonesia.

The accord also allows unimpeded access on a special corridor between the Oecussi enclave in West Timor and other districts of East Timor and proclaims the parties' intention to sign a memorandum of understanding on mutual assistance in legal, judicial and human rights matters.

Speaking to approximately four thousand East Timorese at a plaza in front of the Governor's Office, the headquarters of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), President Wahid stressed that even though it was his first visit to East Timor he felt at home there. "Thank God the past full of difficulties and suffering is behind us," he said.

The president encouraged East Timorese students who had been studying in Indonesia to feel safe to return, saying: "You don't need to be afraid."

For his part, the head of UNTAET, Sergio Vieira de Mello, emphasized the importance of President Wahid's trip to East Timor which is "bound to set a landmark in bilateral relations." Mr. Vieira de Mello said that President Wahid and East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao had set the tone for future bilateral relations and that "they are forward-looking, aiming simultaneously at reconciliation and justice and prompting international cooperation."