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Subject: LUSA: Alkatiri says 10-year transition period is "long"
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 07:05:43 -0500 (EST)
From: "Sharon R.A. Scharfe" <>

18 DEZ 98 - 09:09 East Timor: Mari Alkatiri says 10-year transition period is "long"

Maputo, Dec 18 (Lusa) - The first vice-president of FRETILIN, Mari Alkatiri, regards as "long" a 10-year transition period for East Timor leading to a referendum on self-determination. Speaking to LUSA in the Mozambican capital on Thursay, Alkatiri made the remark when commenting on jailed East Timor's guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao statement earlier this week that East Timor was not ready for immediate independence and that a 10-year transitional autonomy status was acceptable if it would lead to a referendum on self-determination. Gusmao made the politically important statement in a special interview with LUSA in the Cipinang prison on Tuesday. Alkatiri said he regarded a 10-year transition period as "long" because the international community would possibly not be ready to monitor the process for "so many years." However, Alkatiri said he agreed on the need for a transition period before independence. While declining to say how long the transition period should be, the first vice-president of FRETILIN was merely prepared to say that the process depended on political changes in Indonesia, "that have their ups and downs."-Lusa nnnn

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