When Timor-Leste's President José Ramos-Horta survived an assassination attempt two years ago, he forgave the rebel leader behind it. Similarly, he has struck a conciliatory tone with Indonesia, despite its violent 1975-1999 occupation of Timor-Leste, and focused on the growing political and economic ties between the two countries. His leadership has emphasized the value of moving beyond the past.
But in this interview, Ramos-Horta, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for his nonviolent work toward independence, reflects on the successes and failures of the U.N.'s 1999-2002 peacekeeping mission and of subsequent international aid in Timor-Leste.
The U.N., he says, provided the security his country needed in order to concentrate on development, but he criticizes the penetration of international aid, most of which, he says, was spent on foreign consultants and their reports.