Suharto an ‘important figure’: minister

Former Indonesian President Suharto, who died on Sunday at the age of 86, was an important figure in the history of Indonesia, Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen said on Sunday.

Under Suharto’s regime, Indonesia was ‘relatively stable’ and had shown strong economic growth, Verhagen said.
And he pointed to the democratic elections which led to the election of his successor following mass protests in 1998. ‘That proves that Indonesia is a democratic country where its citizens have the last word,’ Verhagen told NOS tv.
Indonesia was a Dutch colony until winning independence in 1949. The Netherlands was represented at the funeral by the Dutch ambassador to the Netherlands because there had not been enough time to send a full minister, NOS said.
Suharto ruled Indonesia for more than three decades. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed during his rule and human rights groups are now calling for an investigation into the killings.
Indonesian writer Sitor Situmorang, who moved to Apeldoorn after spending eight years in jail under the Suharto regime, said his death was not a relief. It would have been better for his supporters and victims if Suharto had faced trial, he told NOS tv.

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