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Leaders from Indonesia and East Timor Meet in Bali


The presidents of Indonesia and East Timor discussed security issues and humanitarian aid during a summit meeting, held as a recent rash of street violence in East Timor begins to calm.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono asked his counterpart for an update on the security situation in East Timor, where rebel soldiers have begun handing in weapons to Australian peacekeepers, a move seen as key to easing months of unrest.

Violence erupted after the prime minister fired nearly 600 soldiers, who had complained about discrimination. More than 30 people were killed in rioting that erupted among soldiers and gangs. More than 100,000 were displaced.

Peacekeeping troops from Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia were called in to contain the violence.

Indonesia has provided more than $700,000 in food, medicine and supplies for the displaced.

President Yudhyono's spokesman, Dino Patti Djalal, says the president wants to review security at the countries' border with East Timor, which gained independence from Indonesia in 2002.

"Immediately after the crisis exploded, Indonesia closed the borders, in order to make sure that no elements would cross over into Timor Leste that would complicate the situation, and that has been appreciated by the government of Timor Leste. And also, another reason is to make sure that the violence is contained within the borders of East Timor," he said.

The recent violence in East Timor is believed to be the worst since it became independent.

A rebel leader on Saturday said his faction has now turned in all of its weapons, but the country's leaders say other renegade groups are still armed. The weapons handover follows a plea from Gusmao and peacekeepers for the groups to surrender their guns and ammunition.

The country's foreign and defense minister says foreign peacekeeping forces will be needed for the next two to five years.

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