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Cablegate: Timor-Leste On Burma

VZCZCXRO1162
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHHM
DE RUEHDT #0323 3430826
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 090826Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY DILI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4629
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1146
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 4185

UNCLAS DILI 000323

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV BM TT
SUBJECT: TIMOR-LESTE ON BURMA

REF: STATE 121789

1. Ambassador on December 1 and 2 spoke with Timor-Leste's
president and foreign minister, respectively, to share USG views
on Burma as conveyed in reftel. President Ramos-Horta said he
highly appreciated and was impressed by recent U.S. overtures to
Burma. While he shared our disappointment with the Burmese
regime's recent actions, he remained optimistic that the Burmese
military eventually will be responsive to U.S. efforts. Based
on his contacts with senior Burmese and his reading of Burma's
strategic situation, squeezed between India and China,
Ramos-Horta believes the Burmese generals are very anxious to
improve relations with the U.S. He encouraged the USG not to be
overly discouraged by the events in November and predicted the
Burmese regime eventually will relent both on ASSK's ability to
meet with the NLD party leadership, and the release of political
prisoners, albeit at a time more proximate to the planned
elections. That said, Ramos-Horta repeated that he strongly
believes that Burma must be admonished at the UN for its
deplorable human rights record. He recalled with dismay the
foreign minister's instructions to the Timorese delegation at
the UN to abstain in committee, and reported that he personally
told the Timorese permrep to vote with the U.S. in plenary.

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2. Foreign Minister da Costa also expressed gratitude for the
readout of recent U.S.-Burma engagement. Despite our
disappointment with Timor-Leste's abstention at the UN, however,
he stuck by his conclusion that Timor-Leste must align itself
with ASEAN on the UN Burma human rights vote in order to protect
its bid to join ASEAN in 2012. He again offered hope that the
Burmese regime would use the current situation to liberalize
sufficiently to ensure the legitimacy of the 2010 elections. He
noted that he would be travelling to Burma to meet his
counterpart and other leaders of the regime early in 2010 and
asked to be kept apprised of U.S. policy developments.

KLEMM

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