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Subject: AFP: Habibie plans new meeting with Bishop Belo
Date: Thu, 24 Dec 1998 10:46:50 +0000
From: Tapol

Received from Joyo

Indonesian president plans new meeting with East Timor bishop

JAKARTA, Dec 24 (AFP) - Indonesian President B.J. Habibie is planning to meet with East Timor's leading bishop, Noble Prize laureate Carlos Ximenes Felipe Belo for the second time, a minister said in press reports Thursday.

Information Minister Yunus Yosfiah was quoted by the Jakarta Post daily as saying Habibie has instructed his ministers to review the progress made in the past six months in the search of solution to the problem of East Timor.

"After that, the president (plans) to meet again with Bishop Belo," Yosfiah said.

Habibie met with Belo to discuss the question of East Timor in June, the month after he replaced former president Suharto who ordered the military invasion of the former Portuguese colony of East Timor in 1975.

Habibie has promised wide-ranging autonomy for East Timor, which the United Nations and most states view as still administered by Portugal.

The scheme is currently being negotiated between Indonesia and Portugal in talks held under the auspices of the UN secretary general.

Habibie also promised the gradual withdrawal of Indonesian military forces from East Timor but he has ruled out granting a referendum of self- determination for East Timorese.

Jailed East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao has said such atuonomy should only last for a period of 10 years and a referendum for self-determination should be prepared after that.

Calls for the release of Xanana, who is serving a 20 year jail term for plotting against the state and illegal possession of weapons, have been aired by many, including UN secretary special envoy on East Timor, Jamsheed Marker who ended a nine-visit here on Wednesday.

They said Gusmao should be freed to allow him to take part in seeking a peaceful solution to the long-dragging question of East Timor.

TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign, 25 Plovers Way, Alton Hampshire GU34 2JJ Tel/Fax: 1420 80153 Email: Defending victims of oppression in Indonesia, East Timor, West Papua and Aceh, 1973-1998

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