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Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Gusmao commemorates Indonesian dead
East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao (right) takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Kalibata War Heroes cemetery in Jakarta, Indonesia, 3 July 2002.
Mr Gusmao led an armed rebellion against Indonesia
East Timorese President Xanana Gusmao has ended an historic trip to Jakarta by laying a wreath at Indonesia's heroes' cemetery, in a symbolic gesture aimed at reconciling the two neighbours.

Mr Gusmao, who spent seven years in an Indonesian prison for leading a resistance movement against Indonesia, was on his first state visit to Indonesia since East Timor became independent in May.

East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao (left) is shown a grave of an Indonesian soldier
Mr Gusmao wants a fresh start with Indonesia
His trip to the cemetery, which commemorates Indonesians who were killed during its own struggle for independence from Dutch colonial rule, will be seen as a significant gesture.

"In every country where there has been a struggle for independence, there is a place to remember the heroes," Mr Gusmao told reporters.

"We want to pay tribute to the heroes of the Indonesian independence."

On Tuesday the two countries signed a joint communiqué which established full diplomatic ties.

Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri said the two leaders held "very warm and useful discussions".

Mr Gusmao had been due later on Wednesday to head to Makassar in Sulawesi province to address a seminar on economic co-operation, but the visit was cancelled because security officials were busy handling a disturbance by football hooligans.

Reconciliation

The two neighbours have close economic ties, but also have plenty of unresolved questions, including compensation for Indonesian property in East Timor and the return of thousands of East Timorese refugees in Indonesia.

President Gusmao and Megawati have agreed to set up a commission to resolve such sticky issues.

East Timor has so far rejected Jakarta's compensation claim saying both sides should wipe the slate clean.

Xanana Gusmao meets Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri
The two leaders have plenty to talk about
During the independence vote more than 1,000 East Timorese were killed when pro-Jakarta militias went on the rampage, destroying towns and villages.

Mr Gusmao had been due to make his first trip as president to Indonesia in May but Jakarta postponed the visit due to what it described as a scheduling problem.

The cancellation had sparked speculation by some observers that Jakarta was not yet comfortable with accepting East Timor has an equal. Analysts are watching this visit closely.


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02 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
23 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
19 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
13 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
20 May 02 | Media reports
20 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
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