I recently had the opportunity to be in Indonesia, where I know you were, Mr. Secretary. And I watched with interest the reports of the (rioting?) in -- (inaudible) -- this week. What was your reaction when you were there? And what do you see in the future vis-a-vis Indonesia, which is, after all the fourth-most populous nation in the world?
We have long had problems over some of their human rights practices, and especially in the East Timor area, that I frequently talk to the Indonesians about them. At the present time, I think there's a strong interest in seeing an orderly transition of power there that will recognize the pluralism that should exist in a country of that magnitude and importance. So we will be encouraging a transition there that expresses the popular will.
One of the encouraging factors I found, Senator Pell, when I was there, I visited for the second time with the human rights commission that's been created by the government. Two years ago, when I met with that commission, it was just getting organized, just getting started. Now I'm glad to say that their procedures seem to be fairly well ingrained. They meet regularly. They comment on the public issues of the day there, including issues of freedom of press within their country and freedom of assembly within their country.
So I found that a very positive development and I was interested to talk with them about East Timor and their comments on East Timor, as well as their comments on the issue now in the press involving Mrs. Megawati. So as I say, there are complexities about the country, but it is an extremely important country, and the United States needs to maintain good relationships with.
John M. Miller
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