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Subject: AFP: UN envoy on ET arrives in Indonesia
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 10:10:57 +1200
From: sonny inbaraj <ausasia@ozemail.com.au> Organization: The AustralAsian

UN envoy on East Timor issues arrives in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Dec 15 (AFP) - A UN special envoy on East Timor arrived here Tuesday for a week-long visit that will include a trip to the troubled territory to gather input for an ongoing peace process.

"One of the things I will be discussing is the autonomy proposal, which was a substantive one that has been pursued by the United Nations, and put all shades of opinions on this proposal," Jamsheed Marker, the personal envoy of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, said on his arrival here.

Marker was refering to the proposal for wide ranging autonomy for East Timor put forward by the Indonesian government of President B.J. Habibie.

The substance of the proposal is currently being negotiated between senior officials from Indonesia and Portugal under the auspices of the UN secretary general.

"Hopefully, we will be able to advance this process further during my visit here," Marker said.

He said during his visit to Indonesia and East Timor, to wind up on December 23, he will meet with President Habibie, Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, "important personalities and political leaders of all shades of political opinion."

He said he also will meet with jailed East Timorese pro-independence leader Xanana Gusmao, now serving a 20-year term in Jakarta, but gave no date.

"I do not have to tell you how rapidly the political situation is changing and it is important to take advantage of that to try to arrive at a settlement on East Timor as soon as possible," he said.

He also said there had been a "disquietening" increase in activities in East Timor recently that had increased tension there.

"It was very unfortunate that certain elements disturbed this (peace) process," Marker said declining to identify the elements.

Reports from East Timor have spoken of increased Indonesian military activities in several districts of the former Portuguse colony, invaded by Indonesia in 1975, and annexed a year later.

The reports followed a resurgence of attacks by pro-independentists on Indonesian troops, including on a military outpost in Alas sub-district last month.

Although Marker said his visit here was not a fact finding mission, he said that he hoped to try to "find out myself," about what is happening in East Timor.

The United Nations and most states continue to view Lisbon as the administrator of the East Timor, and do not recognize Indonesia's annexation. A pro-independence movement continues to resist the Indonesian presence there.

Reports of alleged military violence on civilians in East Timor had prompted Portugal to briefly suspend talks on the autonomy proposal in New York.

But the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has visited the troubled area has since said they have seen no evidence of the massive violence.

Marker is scheduled to visit East Timor on December 18-21, sources have said.

The UN secretary general has since 1983 sponsored a dialogue between Indonesia and Portugal to find a settlement to the troubled territory that Jakarta annexed more than 20 years ago.

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