Subject: DPA: E Timor separatist calls for U.N. forces
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 21:53:35 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Deutsche Presse-Agentur February 26, 1999

East Timor separatist (sic) calls for U.N. forces Jakarta

East Timor's jailed separatist leader Xanana Gusmao has urged for the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping forces in his troubled homeland, one of his lawyers said Friday.

Gusmao made such the appeal during a meeting late Thursday with Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer in which they discussed a political solution for the region.

"We had a very successful discussion, and I am certainly very impressive by the commitment of Xanana Gusmao to the first and most important process in East Timor reconciliation," Downer told reporters after the meeting at Gusmao's special detention center.

Tension between pro and anti-Indonesian groups has increased in East Timor in recent weeks with bloody clashes forcing hundreds of refugees out of villages.

"Xanana's proposal will become a suggestion in a further international lobbies," said Hendardi, one of Gusmao's lawyers, adding that Gusmao are highly committed towards a comprehensive solution to the East Timor problem.

Meanwhile, reports from East Timor's capital Dili said the United Nations was scheduled to deploy special forces in the former Portuguese colony to "disarm" pro- and anti-independence factions.

Tamrat Sameul, a special envoy of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said "as long as the civilians still posses arms, the shootings and brutal killings cannot be prevented."

East Timor police chief Colonel Timbul Silaen told Jakarta's Kompas daily that the Indonesian police posted in the province would help the U.N. special forces disarm the civilians.

There was the possibility that the ABRI (Indonesian armed forces) would be withdrawn, leaving behind Indonesian police and civilian militias, Silaen said.

On Thursday, thousands of people took to the streets of Dili, forcing to most government and private offices to shut-down one day after the brutal shooting deaths of three people.

Pro-independence activists have blamed pro-Indonesian armed groups who favour autonomy rather than independence for the recent violence.

The Indonesian military officials has denied handing over weapons to pro-Indonesian groups. However, they said, that weapons had been given to trained civilian guards who act as auxiliaries for the police force.

Indonesia annexed the former Portuguese colony in 1976 - but the move has never recognized by the United Nations and most of Western countries. The government in Jakarta recently announced that it would consider cutting East Timor loose as early as next year. dpa sh ma

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