Subject: RT: UN Talks Suspended
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 16:50:01 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Portugal halts E.Timor talks over massacre allegations
04:17 p.m Nov 20, 1998 Eastern
LISBON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Portugal said on Friday it had suspended talks with Jakarta on East Timor after reports of a massacre in the Indonesian-ruled former Portuguese colony.
Foreign Minister Jaime Gama told journalists that he had ordered diplomats in New York to halt a scheduled meeting with Indonesian representatives, one of a series brokered by the United Nations, which is seeking a negotiated settlement to the problem of the disputed Pacific territory.
Prime Minister Antonio Guterres said that he had sent a message to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressing his ``profound concern'' about the reports.
Portuguese news agency Lusa quoted Timor resistance sources as saying a large number of people had been killed in incidents in Alas on the southern coast of the Timor.
There was no immediate confirmation of the reports.
Portugal, which abandoned East Timor shortly before Indonesia invaded in 1975, backs calls by the resistance movement for a referendum on the future of the territory which Jakarta regards as an integral part of Indonesia.
A small guerrilla army is still active in the rugged territory and Indonesia has a large military force stationed there.
Under the terms of a recent accord between Lisbon and Jakarta, Indonesia was due to start reducing troop levels in East Timor.
But resistance groups have accused Indonesia, the world's largest Moslem nation, of flouting the accord and sending more soldiers to the mainly Roman Catholic territory.
Gama said that he had asked Annan to act ``firmly and rapidly'' over the alleged massacre.
He said that he had also contacted the International Red Cross and the Geneva-based U.N. Commission on Human Rights urging them to investigate the allegations.