Minister for Foreign Affairs to visit Indonesia and East Timor
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr David Andrews TD, leaves today for his first official visit to Indonesia. During his 5 day visit, the Minister will travel to Jakarta and Dili, the main town in East Timor.
The visit is a result of a commitment the Minister made to the Dáil late last year.
The main purpose of his visit is to discuss the situation in East Timor in advance of the UN talks scheduled for next week, and to express his solidarity with the cause of the East Timorese people. He expects to hold meetings with President Habibie and Foreign Minister Alatas of Indonesia as well as Mr Xanana Gusmao, the Timorese resistance leader who is currently under house arrest in Jakarta. "I intend to impress upon them the necessity of resolving the East Timor issue at the earliest possible date" said the Minister.
The Minister wishes to use this visit as an opportunity to impress upon all parties the need to avoid acts of violence at all costs. "It is imperative in the present circumstances that all sides exercise the utmost restraint. I hope that my visit will contribute to restoring peace and stability in the territory" he said