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'Outrageous' letter from Indonesia about Ramos Horta visit

Parool - April 23, 1997

Henk Bouwmans (Original in Dutch, translation by TAPOL), The Hague – The Dutch Parliament is furious about a letter from the Indonesian embassy about the East Timorese human rights activist and Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos Horta. In the letter Ramos Horta is accused of acting purely for personal ambitions by setting up a government in exile. His efforts are merely directed to achieve the image as 'champion of human rights' for the East Timorese people.

The Dutch Parliament calls the letter, which was sent on the eve of a talk between Horta and the parliament, as an 'inappropriate' way of interfering in the policy of inviting guests to the Dutch parliament. Early next week Horta will be hosted in the Hague.

"The letter is the latest sign of the enormous irritation from the Indonesian side about the way we think about East Timor. Once again it shows a total ignorance on the part of the Indonesians about Horta as a public figure and the global view about the illegality of the occupation of East Timor", said member of parliament Van den Bos from the Liberal Party D 66. "It is a scandalous form of interference" said Dijksma MP for PvdA, the Dutch Labour Party (Both parties are government parties, TAPOL).

In the letter, Ramos Horta is described as the 'so-called leader' of the national resistance of East Timor. The fact that Ramos Horta has called for a shadow government is characterised as 'a cheap political joke'. The reporting in the press just show 'the tendency of Jose Ramos Horta to make sensational statements about East Timor to boost his personal interest and reputation'.

According to the report by the Indonesian roving ambassador F. Lopes da Cruz, which is included with the letter from the Indonesian embassy, Ramos Horta has lost his self confidence because he failed in his attempts to meet several heads of governments. According to F. Lopes da Cruz, this is the reason why Ramos Horta has set up a government-in-exile which merely serves to satisfy the position and personal ambition of Ramos Horta.

The cooperation between Ramos Horta and the Catholic Church has, according to the Indonesians, nothing to do with defending the interests of the East Timorese. Ramos Horta has promoted the relationship with the church just to create the image of being 'the champion of human rights of the East Timorese people'.

Ramos Horta will be received on Monday by Foreign Minister Van Mierlo and the next day he will be the guest of the parliament. The East Timorese human rights activist was very complimentary yesterday on the role of the Dutch goverbnment in the adopted the UN resolution about the occupation and violation of human rights in East Timor.