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Secret talks give reason to hope
- Subject: Secret talks give reason to hope
- From: Sidneypilg@xxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 19:53:00
Suharto ready to face trial on graft charges says lawyer
STORY: JAKARTA: Former president Suharto is ready to face trial for corruption
if charges are presented, but if he does go to court other heads will roll,
his legal adviser warned at the weekend.
In twin statements, issued late Saturday on television and in writing,
Yohannes Yacob ``reminded'' the government that should the ousted leader be
brought to court, it, too, could suffer.
``We need to point out that the probe (if) taken to court will also drag down
government officials, ex-officials and all the cronies who are also suspected
of improper gains through corruption, collusion and nepotism,'' Mr Yacob
There was no direct confirmation yesterday from Suharto, 77, whose Jakarta
residence has been the target of repeated student demonstrations since his
fall in May, as to whether he had personally authorised Mr Yacob's warning.
The statements followed disclosures over the past week that Mr Suharto had 21
billion rupiah (HK$21.84 million) in domestic bank accounts and that he and
his family held vast tracts of land and assets countrywide.
They also came a week after his successor and protege, President B J Habibie
authorised the setting up of a new commission to probe Mr Suharto's wealth.
In the Rajawali Citra Television (RCTI) interview Mr Yacob said that Mr
Suharto _ who until now has simply been asked to give evidence and not
formally charged _ was ready to sit as a suspect.
Mr Yacob also slammed Mr Habibie's decision to set up the independent
commission on top of the attorney-general's probe into Mr Suharto's alleged
``It is totally impossible, because if the team must come into being, and is
put into the hands of public figures, the attorney-general's office and the
police should then be dissolved,'' Mr Yacob said.
Attorney-General Andi Ghalib said the commission would not only contribute
data that may complement those gathered by his office but also suggest as to
what needs to be done.
HONG KONG STANDARD - Nov 30, 98
Secret talks give reason to hope
WILLIAM BARNES in Bangkok
Last week's report in the International Herald Tribune that the United Nations
was prepared to hand Burma's reviled military Government US$1 billion (HK$7.7
billion) was premature.
But behind these - in reality - tentative approaches to the regime was a
potentially historic meeting in England.
When the history books are written, this meeting may come to be seen in a
similar light to the secret meetings that took place in the 1980s, some also
in English country houses, between representatives of the South African
authorities and the African National Congress.
The common ground discovered at those meetings eventually led to Nelson
What happened this time is that the West, the UN and Burma's neighbours found
that they too agreed on much over Burma, despite the West's hawkish posturing
and the "constructive engagement" policy of some Asian nations.
There was a consensus during the "very constructive, very positive"
discussions that Burma's economy is in a diabolical condition and that
political repression and human rights abuses have hit unacceptable levels. A
decision was made to try to break the political stalemate in Rangoon between
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy and the
After the meeting, five ambassadors - from Australia, Britain, the US, Japan
and the Philippines - started to engage both sides.
The result was UN Assistant Secretary-General Alvaro de Soto's "very, very
tenuous first step" in meeting Ms Aung San Suu Kyi and the powerful
intelligence chief Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt last month.
It remains for the five ambassadors to try to inch forward.
There has been a general understanding - at least outside Burma - that if even
a half-way democratic government is installed, the country is likely to
benefit from a wave of money from investors. There would be tremendous
international goodwill for a popular government.
Yet there is also a widespread recognition that throwing money at Burma will
do little good if the dead hand of military rule is not lifted from the
economic controls - that implies much more democratic and transparent rule.
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Nov 30, 98