|Subject: AFP: East Timor parties end first talks in
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 1998 10:48:52 +0900
From: The AustralAsian <email@example.com>
East Timor parties end first talks -- call for rebels, exiles to join
Fri 11 Sep 98 - 17:33 GMT
DILI, East Timor, Sept 11 (AFP) - Political factions in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor wound up their first talks Friday, agreeing that discussions should continue and be expanded to include guerilla fighters, Timorese in exile and jailed rebel leader Xanana Gusmao.
"All participants of the view that meetings such as this should in the future also be attended by the representatives of all political and social factions including the leaders of the struggle now in the forest, in jail and abroad," a statement issued by the 49 participants said.
The statement was a part of a joint communique read at the end of the closed-door, two-day meeting held under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church in a seminary in Dare, some 10 kilometres (six miles) east of here.
Rebels still in the hills, prisoners held by Indonesia and exiles such as Nobel laureate Jose Ramos Horta were not included in the first round which started Thursday and ended late Friday.
The communique was read in three languages and laid out a nine-point plan which focused on the need for the 800,000 people of the troubled territory to present a common front on their own future.
East Timor was invaded by Indonesian troops in 1975 and unilaterally annexed the following year after heavy fighting in a move not recognized by the United Nations or most states.
The communique also said that "all participants are aware of the two prevailing views regarding a settlement in East Timor -- namely the referendum and autonomy" a reference to growing calls for a referendum on self determination and an Indonesian offer of broad autonomy.
"There is a need to set up a joint platform for the people of East Timor," it said, refering to bitter divisions between pro- and anti-Indonesian factions.
But it said thay had agreed on the need for a representative institution and that all present showed "the political will to to hold a sustainable dialogue that will be proactive and forward looking."
The ultimate aim, it said, was to unify a vision and perception for a final effort to settle the problem of East Timor.
In a separate statement, a former key aide to Xanana stressed the need for the former rebel leader to be able to take part in future talks.
"This effort for reconciliation is good, but it will need to be attended by Xanana Gusmao, as he is the highest leader of the struggle. That is recognized here and overseas," said Mauhunu.
Mauhunu was arrested and released after Xanana, who is now serving a 20-year jail term in Jakarta,
"If this reconciliation dialogue can move forward, we will no longer have any use for the IETED," he added refering to a limited input by opposing factions to long-term United Nations efforts to solve the Timor problem.
That input has been largely confined to cultural issues.
Nobel prize laureate Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo and Bishop Basillio Nascimento acted as mediators in the talks, billed as a "reconciliation dialogue," the results of which are to be conveyed to Jakarta, Lisbon and the UN secretary general.
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