Subject: ST - E. Timor: Jakarta won't 'pull bridges'
From: "Paula" <>

Straits Times FEB 4 1999

E. Timor: Jakarta won't 'pull bridges'


JAKARTA -- Indonesia cannot afford to merely abandon East Timor if its offer of wide-ranging autonomy is rejected, because any resulting chaos in the territory could spill over to the rest of the country and force Jakarta to intervene once again like it did 22 years ago, according to presidential spokesman Dewi Fortuna Anwar.

"There should be no concern that Indonesia is about to pull out its bridges, put out the lights, pack its bags, board the ships and sail away like the Portuguese did 22 years ago," she told The Straits Times in an interview.

"East Timor is located in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago. ... We are geographically tied together. We won't allow chaos to develop because it will become an Indonesian burden and we will feel a need to intervene again," she said.

But Jakarta needed to know once and for all if the former Portuguese colony wanted to be part of Indonesia, and sooner rather than later.

Copyright © 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

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