CNN International Diplomatic License
Indonesia and East Timor Welcome Kofi Annan
Transcrição de entrevista para o Diplomatic Licence da CNN com Kofi Annan sobre a situação do governo transitório em Timor Leste em 19 de fevereiro de 2000
Aired February 19, 2000
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD ROTH, DIPLOMATIC LICENSE: Tuesday morning, Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Jakarta. That group down there pulsating with cameras, notepads and tripods awaits the latest act in one of the most bizarre dramas of diplomacy ever on the world stage.
Hello, I’m Richard Roth. Welcome to DIPLOMATIC LICENSE.
It’s an amazing time here in Indonesia. The country is now in the midst of emerging democracy. One day, the new president fires a senior military figure, the man implicated by many in humans rights violations in East Timor, formerly controlled by Indonesia. The next day, he can keep his job. Then a change of heart. He can stay as long as he’s investigated. Then, literally overnight, another change. He’s suspended. And into all of this walks United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
(voice-over): Arriving in Jakarta, United Nations Secretary- General, Kofi Annan, stepped from the sunlight into the shadows of fledgling democracy rocked by daily political twists and turns.
ALWI SHIHAB, INDONESIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: This is a very fortunate and historic moment for us to welcome the secretary-general of the United Nations.
ROTH: A diplomatic embarrassment was avoided on the eve of Annan’s arrival when Indonesian president Wahid suspended security chief General Wiranto from his cabinet. The decision came after two weeks of wavering by the president who, on one day, would demand Wiranto’s resignation – later letting him stay in office – then Monday suspending him from duties pending a probe.
KOFI ANNAN, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: It was the president’s decision, and I think he has to exercise his prerogative.
ROTH: Wiranto’s army is implicated in two human rights reports for directing a campaign of violence against the people of East Timor, the island territory now run by the United Nations.
A major topic of Annan’s talks with Indonesian government figures – will Indonesia or an international tribunal conduct the trial on what happened in East Timor? For now, Annan is willing to test Indonesia’s vow to investigate the accusations and hold a trial handled domestically, if warranted.
ANNAN: I’m personally very pleased that the Indonesian government has taken on the responsibility of ensuring that those accountable for the atrocities in – and those responsible for the atrocities in East Timor will be made accountable and will be brought to trial.
ROTH: And with that early praise from its guest, Indonesia’s foreign minister bid Annan a safe journey into Jakarta.
The motorcade is low-key. No blaring sirens. On the left, agriculture, the low flooding of rice fields. They fade away as the big city, with its skyscrapers, looms in the distance, housing hotels and financial interests. Indonesia is just starting to pick up the pieces after the major financial crisis that swept Asia.
The secretary-general may have seen this banner welcoming him to Indonesia. It is an early symbol of much of the discussions he will have – people who want their province to separate from the rest of Indonesia.
While the secretary-general checks into his hotel, another demonstration outside, this one more nationalistic. They called themselves “Formula.” Only their leader spoke English, but their signs read in English. It did have all the appearances of an organized protest by somebody who wanted to send the UN secretary-general a message.
(on camera): You’re camped outside here, the hotel of the UN secretary-general. He’s high up there; don’t know if he can see you. What do you want?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people of Indonesia can do – can do or can accomplish human rights and can do it by ourselves today. So I don’t like foreign countries to interfere.
ROTH: How long has your group been together?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About a week ago.
ROTH: A week?
(voice-over): The Formula was gone by the time the UN motorcade hit the streets of the capital again. Among the diplomatic rounds, the vehicles turned into the national parliament, a building overrun by outraged students at the height of the last days of the regime of President Suharto, a man who may now face corruption charges.
Fresh democracy here also brings new freedoms for the press. Last fall, the government abolished requiring government licenses for the press. It could make for some alarming moments for the secretary- general.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One by one. OK, OK, one by one.
ROTH (on camera): We’ve gone straight up, high atop Jakarta, Indonesia, to get some street perspective form two journalists who have been here for years and covered the story very close up. With me, Maria Ressa, CNN’s Jakarta bureau chief, and Aristides Katoppo, long-time journalist here for over 40 years. Once ran a newspaper that was banned by former President Suharto.
Maria Ressa, what is the impact of Secretary-General Annan’s visit coming at this delicate time for Indonesia?
MARIA RESSA, CNN JAKARTA BUREAU CHIEF: Well, it’s a fascinating time for Indonesia because it’s being torn apart by a lot of different factions, not just in the military, but also within politics. He comes in a symbolizes really the international community. That has been the pressure on Indonesia during President Habibie’s – former President Habibie’s term.
It’s still the pressure now on President Wahid. The pressure of the – of perhaps a tribunal – an international tribunal coming in. It’s going to be very, very difficult for Indonesia to hold together during a time when it’s being torn apart, not just domestically, but also by international forces.
ROTH: But does Kofi Annan’s visit help the Indonesian government or, as some people fear, the international community is just waiting to get its hooks on in Indonesia? What is the impact?
RESSA: Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab said – talked about latent nationalism. That nationalism is very real, and it’s one of the factors that his government must keep in mind. But at the same time, international pressure is also necessary to keep democracy moving forward, and I think President Wahid is very aware of how to use that to his advantage. So it’s a very hard balancing act for him trying to use it, at the same time, keep a balance with the concerned here domestically.
ROTH: Mr. Katoppo, put some long-time perspective on this situation. And will Indonesia hold? Is there going to be an emerging democracy here? Is there enough foundation? What do you think?
ARISTIDES KATOPPO, INDONESIAN JOURNALIST: That’s, in fact, what we all hope for. And I think a lot of the dynamics you see now is the clash within those who want democracy and those who want to stay in the old autocratic order of President Suharto.
ROTH: This is an amazing time here. I mean, in the government. What is happening in the higher echelons of this city and in this government? Is there factions, turf battles going on? How is the president managing affairs here?
KATOPPO: I think the president is managing very well. Indeed, there are factions as in any society. And, of course, there’s rivalries. There are submerged or even open conflicts. But at the same time, you must know that President Wahid is the first legitimately elected president in a democratic way. So he has great legitimacy unlike – and, of course, that is his main strength.
ROTH: Is he a magician among other strengths? I mean, his European trip included, “If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium. I’m going to fire my minister of security. And if it’s Paris on Wednesday, he can stay.” Have you ever seen such – something like that? How did this affect affairs here?
KATOPPO: Well, people think he’s, in a ways, kind of a genius. They may not always understand the actions he takes, but I think that it’s quite some trust. You know, it’s like the water flowing into the – from a river. It meanders. It looks as if there is no direction. But in fact, it’s very consistent. It seeks the lowest point, which is democratization. And it consistently seeks the way of least resistance, which means nonviolence, a nonviolent way.
ROTH: I saw some rice paddies, though, that flooded and overflowed on the way in from the airport. Maria Ressa, how essential is what happens in East Timor mean to the Indonesian situation here. Or is the international community making that a bigger deal than it is for the people here?
RESSA: Well, it’s certainly left a lot of scars here. I mean, the military that started, in effect, a lot of the fighting that we’ve seen over the last year. Ethnic, religious, separatist violence out of East Timor definitely fueled a lot of separatist movements in other parts of the country in as many as five different areas. So it’s still a factor on how Indonesia deals with it. It’s going.
ROTH: Very briefly – all this coup talk – is that going to happen?
RESSA: No, it’s not. I think, just to add to what Ari was saying about the president. He smokes people out, and he gets things done. You know, if you take a look at what he’s accomplished in four months, it’s quite a lot. He’s put the military in place. A dramatic fall from power of General Wiranto, and that’s something that you couldn’t have expected a year ago.
ROTH: All right. Thank you, Maria Ressa, Jakarta bureau chief for CNN, and Aristides Katoppo, long-time journalist for over 40 years here, high atop Jakarta.
(voice-over): On day two in Jakarta, a highly significant first appointment for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Indonesian Defense Ministry. The military has been accused of inciting much of the violence that swept East Timor following UN-sponsored elections last year. But democratic reforms have now swept through Indonesia, and there’s a civilian at the head of the Defense Ministry for the first time in 40 years.
JUWONO SUDARSONO, INDONESIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: There’s no question of any imminent long-term military coup. The president and the cabinet is in full power over the military.
ROTH: More positive tones from a meeting with Indonesia’s mercurial president, where the two men exchanged promises of cooperation and some jokes. Some at the UN aren’t laughing at a presidential promise to pardon General Wiranto if he is found guilty in an East Timor human rights trial.
ABDURRAHMAN WAHID, INDONESIAN PRESIDENT: We know that between our friends, there is no need for (INAUDIBLE). As long as we work – we see it in the right way, in the right manner.
ROTH: Annan, who met with Indonesia’s attorney general, who is now investigating Wiranto, said again only a creditable by the Indonesian government would deter international tribunal. The secretary-general bristled when asked his definition of justice.
ANNAN: What is yours?
ROTH: UN officials were struck by the forceful pleas by Indonesia to let it administer justice for what happened in its former territory. Insiders here think the suspension of General Wiranto by the president is a good starting point.
NUGROHO WISNUMURTI, DIR. OF POLITICAL AFFAIRS, INDONESIA: It was a test case. I mean, not now – I think his position was, indeed, kind of a (INAUDIBLE) in the legal and political process in Indonesia.
ROTH: But more trouble is at the doorstep, with dozens of other islands and regions rumbling with threats of a breakaway from Indonesia. The secretary-general warned against a Timor-style blowup.
ANNAN: Although they may have security implications, they are, in essence, not security problems. They are political problems, and as such, they require political solutions.
ROTH (on camera): These have certainly been tumultuous times for the Indonesian president. Besides dealing with the separatists’ talk in places such as Aceh and Ambon, there is East Timor and General Wiranto. A keen observer of all this and perhaps a man with some influence here is the United States ambassador to Indonesia, Robert Gelbard.
What is your view? You’ve been here only six months, but a lot of development has happened. What’s your view right now of the political situation in this country right now?
ROBERT GELBARD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO INDONESIA: They’ve come a long way in a few months from the fact that over 50 – for over 50 years, they had a non-democratic tradition and now, just in the last few months, they have moved dramatically to establish a solid democratic government that has widespread support throughout this country.
ROTH: Everybody saw the comment by the president every day regarding General Wiranto. That may now have been stymied a bit by the suspension of his post. But is the president fully in charge, you think?
GELBARD: Absolutely. He has moved very strongly to assure a strong economic policy and to really consolidate his political situation. His first structural priority is clearly military reform, something we support really strongly. And what he’s shown through a variety of measures – including putting reformists into some key military posts, but now particularly with the removal of General Wiranto – is that he wants to make the military subject to civilian control as Secretary Cohen had emphasized in his visit here in September. We obviously support that, and we want to see what we can do to reinforce it.
ROTH: Indonesia is a very important country besides being the fourth most populous. Very significant to the West and to a lot of other parts of the world, isn’t it?
GELBARD: Obviously. This is a country, which has never realized its full potential. But now they have an opportunity, which is one reason why they’re receiving so much international support.
ROTH: Are they doing enough regarding the prosecution of those responsible involving Indonesian abuses, atrocities in East Timor?
GELBARD: Yes. They have started on a serious, sensible course to try to bring those responsible for crimes in East Timor, as well as in Aceh, to justice. We and others are supporting this process. Now, with the suspension of General Wiranto, there’s been a powerful signal given to the military and to the people of this country as well as to the international community that President Wahid means business.
ROTH: You think it’s going to lead to an international tribunal, or will Indonesia be able to prosecute domestically as they wished?
GELBARD: It’s our strong hope that they can succeed in pursuing domestic prosecutions because that will be, ultimately, the best way to internalize the lessons of East Timor. If they can do that, and we think they can, then we strongly believe that this will provide a very strong basis for consolidating the democratic process.
ROTH: How much does the U.S. government fear what’s happening in Aceh, these other places where there’s religious violence, a need many feel, to break away from Indonesia? Are we going to have a rerun in a different way on what happened in East Timor?
GELBARD: No. The government – obviously, these are serious problems. These are problems that President Wahid and his government have inherited from the past because of policies with non-democratic governments. The military and the police simply didn’t know how to handle security issues in places such as Aceh and the Malukus. There needs to be a serious reorientation there.
But the government has begun to try to establish comprehensive integrated policies to deal particularly with Aceh. We strongly support the territorial integrity of Indonesia. East Timor was a special case. And we and others are working very hard to support what the Indonesians are trying to do there.
ROTH (voice-over): The U.S. ambassador was among the elite of Indonesia society attending the secretary-general’s speech entitled “Unity and Diversity,” a call for the country to come together as, quote, “the best solution for all concerned.”
ANNAN: If there are any words I will always remember from this visit to Indonesia, it is (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
I hope I got it right. “Unity and diversity” – indeed, I cannot think of a better motto for the world as a whole and particularly for our United Nations. I wish you every success on the road ahead, and I pledge that the United Nations will walk beside you on this important journey.
(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
ROTH: Welcome back to DIPLOMATIC LICENSE. Finally on East Timor, we’re all waiting here for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on his way from Jakarta, Indonesia.
ANNAN: The devastation I have been able to see so far is worse than what I had imagined from the reports and what I saw on television.
Today, we are here to work with you to establish a free, independent East Timor. That was the clear message of your vote.
We will also never forget the extreme violence that erupted. I want to express my most profound revulsion of the murder, mayhem and destruction of last September. I wish we could have prevented or contained it.
ROTH (voice-over): It is fitting that the coastal city of Darwin was Secretary-General Annan’s first stop in Australia. Darwin was the launching pad for the emergency international peacekeeping force that went to East Timor after violence erupted last year.
ANNAN: It was your city that provided basic human needs such as shelter, food and clothing for almost 2,000 refugees.
ROTH: Australia has been the backbone of the East Timor rebuilding mission. The country even imposed a so-called “Timor tax” to help pay for billions of dollars in aid. Annan personally thanked senior leaders of Australia’s Northern Territory.
Annan’s jet was delayed because a cargo plane carrying 29 people and Annan’s personal luggage had a landing gear problem. UN staffers scrambled out as emergency crews foamed the plane.
Back at Government House, proclaiming that actions speak louder than words, Secretary-General Annan praised the residents of Darwin for setting an example for the entire world.
(on camera): But back in East Timor, here in the main business district in Dili, the capital, it’s quite evident that a lot of work needs to be done. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked for patience and promises independence, though it may take two years.
For DIPLOMATIC LICENSE – on East Timor, I’m Richard Roth. Thanks for watching.
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