East Timor: talks with Indonesia on legal issues 'generally positive,' UN says

East Timor: talks with Indonesia on legal issues 'generally positive,' UN says

Senior officials from the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) today said their recent meetings with the Indonesian Attorney General in Jakarta had been constructive, but more needed to be done to resolve outstanding legal issues.

"We had generally positive discussions with the Attorney General and his staff on a number of justice related issues," said Dennis McNamara, the deputy head of UNTAET, adding that a number of specific issues spanning as far back as 1975 were raised. "But there are many issues outstanding. We need much more active cooperation from the Indonesian side if we are going to make real progress."

Mr. McNamara's remarks came at a press conference in Dili, where he briefed journalists on the first meeting last week between UNTAET officials and new Attorney General Mohamad Abdurrahman. The UNTAET deputy was accompanied by the Special Advisor to the Prosecutor General, Mohamed Othman.

The meeting was a follow-up to the 12 September visit to Indonesia by UNTAET chief Sergio Vieira de Mello, Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri, Cabinet Member for Foreign Affairs José Ramos-Horta and independence leader Xanana Gusmão during which they met with Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri and other senior Indonesian Government representatives.

Mr. McNamara said that his delegation had proposed monthly meetings with the Indonesians in order to go through each of the cases in detail, and suggested the next meeting would be held in Dili in November.

Meanwhile, the East Timorese Council of Ministers today approved the creation of two new institutions to fight poverty in the territory following agreements between UNTAET and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed in December 2000.

The decision to set up a Foundation for the Reduction of Poverty in East Timor and a Society for Micro-finance in East Timor came after an ADB briefing to the Council on a micro-finance project that would boost development in East Timor and reduce its poverty.