East Timor President José Ramos Horta with former President Fidel Ramos of the Philippines at Manila Cathedral, 5 August, before the funeral Mass for former President Cory Aquino.
After receiving the Nobel Peace Prize José Ramos Horta ‘was banned from visiting the Philippines during an APEC meeting which took place there in late 1996; the ban was subsequently extended.’
It was the second time that Mr Ramos Horta was kept from visiting the Philippines:
In 1994, the Philippines also banned Ramos-Horta from attending a conference in Manila on human rights in East Timor. The government said that allowing his entry would harm relations with Indonesia.
Ramos-Horta said he felt no resentment toward the Philippine government because it faced pressure from Indonesia.
"I can only sympathise with the Philippine government because I know that deep down they have a profound sympathy for the people of East Timor," he said.
But he was amazed at being portrayed as a trouble-maker at the Apec summit.
"Who am I to be able to disrupt a summit of mighty states," he said. "I am a bit like Mickey Mouse ... and they are accusing me, a Mickey Mouse, of trying to disrupt a party of elephants."
The irony is that Fidel Ramos was president at the time.