September 26, 1994
DILI, Indonesia (AP) -- Journalists and other foreign visitors attending an international economic summit will have free access to East Timor, where Indonesian troops are fighting a separatist campaign, a government minister says.
Indonesia has been accused of human rights abuses in East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, including indiscriminately killing dozens of pro-democracy demonstrators in 1991.
"We have nothing to hide,"
Information minister Harmoko said Sunday.
"On the contrary, reports by foreign writers based on facts could be effective in countering false reports about East Timor abroad."
Hundreds of foreign journalists will be in Indonesia in November for the annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The meeting will be attended by leaders of APEC's 18 member nations, including President Clinton.
Harmoko said in Dili, the capital of East Timor, that journalists from Portugal would also be free to visit East Timor.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year. The United Nations continues to recognize Portugal as the rightful authority in East Timor.
Harmoko said the government is not worried that foreign media might report about poverty and backwardness in East Timor.