Subject: RT: Bishop urges calm
Date: Sat, 18 Jul 1998 12:52:47 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
FOCUS-Timor bishop urges calm, UN envoy mulls trip 03:59 a.m. Jul 18, 1998 Eastern
By Lewa Pardomuan
DILI, East Timor, July 18 (Reuters) - East Timor's spiritual leader Bishop Carlos Belo called for calm on Saturday ahead of an anticipated visit by a special U.N. envoy which students say they will mark with anti-Indonesia rallies.
In Jakarta, envoy Jamsheed Marker told a news conference after meeting Indonesian President B.J. Habibie that he had not decided whether to go ahead with a visit to the troubled territory.
Belo and Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas have urged him to call off the trip to avoid inflaming tension in the former Portuguese colony which on Friday marked 22 years since it was annexed by Jakarta.
Belo returned to Dili on Saturday after meetings with Marker, Alatas and jailed Timorese guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao in Jakarta last week. Belo said Gusmao had also urged an end to demonstrations in East Timor.
``He has asked everyone in East Timor...those who are against or in favour of integration with Indonesia, to respect and love each other and to stop big demonstrations,'' Belo told reporters.
Asked whether he thought Marker would visit, Belo said: ``I don't know. Whether he comes or not is his problem.... He has to be responsible for his decision.''
Students in East Timor have said for weeks they plan a large protest during Marker's visit to demand a referendum on independence from Indonesia and the release of all Timorese political prisoners.
At least three people were killed in East Timor last month when the territory of 800,000 people was rocked by a series of large anti-Indonesia rallies organised mainly by students.
Hundreds of troops patrolled Dili on Friday during the anniversary of Indonesia's 1976 annexation. The day passed smoothly despite fears it would be marred by protests and violence.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognised by the United Nations.
Tension had risen ahead of the anniversary of annexation. Officials have said thousands of Indonesian migrants, mainly Bugis from South Sulawesi and ethnic Javanese, had fled East Timor in recent weeks for fear of attacks by local anti-Indonesia activists.
East Timor military commander Colonel Tono Suratman confirmed the military had issued an order to shoot people on sight for certain types of disturbances during Integration Day.
``Yes, there was such order, but this only applies for groups who try to lower the Indonesian flag and damage the country's symbols. We will take strong action against them,'' he said without elaborating.
Marker said Alatas would meet U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in around two weeks and he hoped this would push forward progress in settling the East Timor issue. He said he was still considering whether to go to the territory.
``I consider it very important I should go to East Timor but I do not want to do that if it does any harm to the main process,'' he said.
Some East Timorese, mostly students and other young people, are calling for a referendum on independence while others favour remaining part of Indonesia.
Governor Soares said a referendum was not the best way to solve the problem.
``Based on experience, a referendum has never become a successful means to solve political disputes. Most problems have been solved through dialogue,'' he said.
Marker met jailed East Timorese guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao in a Jakarta prison on Friday.
Gusmao, sentenced to 20 years for armed insurgency, said later that he would not object if Indonesia and Portugal set up a form of diplomatic relations blocked previously by Lisbon's demands for his release from prison.
Portugal and Indonesia have been meeting for years under the auspices of the United Nations to try and resolve East Timor's status. Lisbon has asked for a referendum but Jakarta says the territory must remain an integral part of Indonesia.
East Timor attracted international attention in 1991 when nearly 200 people were killed by security forces following the funeral of pro-independence protester, human rights groups say. Jakarta's official death toll is 50.