The Indonesian Occupation of East Timor
Oral History Item Type Metadata
So there was no -- there was no official recognition, either by the United Nations or by the number -- by the rest of the international community, for that matter. Australia at one stage later on negotiated an agreement on the offshore oil deposits, which implied recognition of Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor. So there was this -- at that point in time, the Australians were the nearest who came to a formal recognition of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. But other than that, this remained -- and the Indonesians in Jakarta, on their side, invested a lot of money in East Timor. The country is terribly, terribly poor and underdeveloped.
Suharto said that he -- that "After 300 years of occupation, the Portuguese left me one doctor and fourteen kilometers of paved road. And since then we've spent so much money, we've developed the whole of the province and made it better."
And I said to him, "Yes, you have done, there's no doubt about that. But Mr. President, you have not won the hearts and minds of the people there with all your investment, and that's something that you need to do." So we -- I mean, that's where it ended at that particular point in time. But to go back a bit, this was the background under which East Timor -- the struggle in East Timor began.