|Subject: AFP: E. Timor will become a republic
without an army: Xanana
Date: Sat, 20 Feb 1999 09:04:31 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Received from Joyo:
East Timor will become a republic without an army: rebel chief
JAKARTA, Feb 16 (AFP) - East Timor will become "The Republic of East Timor" after independence from Indonesia and will have no armed forces, jailed rebel leader Xanana Gusmao was quoted as saying Tuesday.
Xanana also told six Portuguese journalists who visited him at the house where he is under detention here that the official language of the former Portuguese colony invaded by Indonesia in 1975 would be Portuguese.
The East Timorese resistance leader, who was moved from Jakarta's Cipinang jail to house detention earlier this month, also said the constitution of a free East Timor would be based on the universal declaration of human rights.
It would adopt a parliamentary system of government and follow a market- oriented economic system, he added.
Xanana, according to Lusa correspondent, said the resistance in East Timor whose armed wing he headed for more than 13 years before being captured by Indonesian troops in 1992, had been taken by surpise by Indonesia's announcement it could accept an independent East Timor.
"We had foreseen a long transition period under an autonomous status and now we have to rethink everything," he was quoted as saying.
Xanana, who despite his denials of any political ambitions is seen by many as a potential first president of an independent East Timor, also said he saw a necessary transition period under UN supervision.
He also told the journalists the commander of the Indonesian armed forces in East Timor would be visiting him "in the coming days" to discuss security in the territory.
Tensions have risen between pro-Indonesian and pro-independence advocates in East Timor since the January 27 declaration by Indonesian President B.J. Habibie that Jakarta would consider letting the territory go.