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East timor clinton

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Clinton Likely in Timor Delegation
Tue May 7, 3:29 PM ET
By RON FOURNIER, AP White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush (news - web sites) intends to include former President Clinton (news - web sites) in a U.S. delegation to the May 20 celebration of independence for East Timor (news - web sites).


AP Photo

An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday the White House plans to announce the selection once the delegation is completed. They cautioned that Bush's decision won't be final until the complete delegation is formed, and that could take a few more days.

Bush, a Republican, recently criticized the former Democratic president for hosting a Mideast summit in 2000. The gathering ended without agreement, and was followed by a Palestinian uprising against Israel.

East Timor is a former Indonesian territory that separated from Jakarta in 1999.

The mission, first reported by USA Today, marks the first time Clinton has been tapped by Bush for help. The former president has made no secret his desire to help mediate the Middle East crisis, but White House officials have said the idea has not been given serious consideration.

There is precedence for presidents tapping successors, particularly for ceremonial functions such as the East Timor event. When Clinton was president, he included Bush's father in the delegation that attended the funerals of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (news - web sites) and Jordan's King Hussein.

While in East Timor, Clinton is expected to attend the inauguration of East Timor President-elect Xanana Gusmao.

Clinton's administration urged the United Nations (news - web sites) to send peacekeepers to East Timor when parts of the Indonesian military mounted a campaign of violence after the 1999 independence vote.

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