|Subject: RT: Gusmao says has no ambitions to lead
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Gusmao says has no ambitions to lead East Timor 07:38 a.m. Feb 04, 1999 Eastern
By Richard Waddington
LISBON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Jailed East Timor guerrilla chief Xanana Gusmao, soon to be released into de facto house arrest, said on Thursday he had no ambitions to lead either under self-government within Indonesia or as an independent state.
``I will just be an adviser,'' media reports in Lisbon quoted the charismatic separatist leader as telling a news conference for Portuguese journalists in his Jakarta jail.
Gusmao, who is serving a 20-year sentence for guerrilla activities against Indonesian rule, also called for a general disarmament in the Pacific territory to avoid further bloodshed.
``All Timorese must feel the responsibility for the need to avoid a new civil war. Without arms there is no war,'' he said.
Gusmao will be moved to a house near Jakarta's Cipinang jail next week after Indonesia bowed to mounting international pressure for him to let him out of prison to smooth efforts to end a long-running dispute over the territory's future.
At least 50 people have died in clashes between pro-and anti-Jakarta groups in the former Portuguese colony over the past six months.
Tensions have intensified in recent days after Jakarta, in a dramatic diplomatic aboutturn, said that it would be ready to concede independence to the territory of 800,000 people if an offer of autonomy were rejected.
The autonomy offer is at the centre of negotiations between Portugal, which the United Nations still regards as the administering power, and Indonesia over East Timor.
Portugal's Foreign Minister Jaime Gama is due to meet his Indonesian counterpart Ali Alatas in New York at the weekend to discuss details of Indonesia's offer of independence if autonomy is rejected.
Alatas said on Thursday that autonomy could include the right to hold elections and even opt for a political system entirely different to that of Indonesia.
Gusmao, who heads the umbrella National Timor Resistance Council, said that his guerrilla past ruled him out as a future leader of an autonomous or independent state.
``We are going to avoid a repetition of history in which every leader of a resistance struggle has to be necessarily a leader of a country,'' he said.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year saying that it acted to contain a civil war that had erupted in the wake of Portugal's abrupt withdrawal.
``The problem now is to achieve an agreement under which we all put aside our arms,'' Gusmao said.
A small band of anti-Indonesian guerrillas is still active in the hills around the East Timor capital Dili, but it is heavily out-gunned by the Indonesian army.
Resistance leaders and churchmen in the mainly Roman Catholic territory have accused the Indonesian army of distributing weapons to civilian loyalists.
But the armed forces say that they have only handed out weapons to paramilitary units helping to keep order.