Subject: IO - Gus Dur: ‘East Timor is nation’s fault’
From: "Paula" <paularoque@mail.telepac.pt>

Indonesian Observer 8th February 1999 Nation

‘East Timor is nation’s fault’

JAKARTA (IO) — Muslim leader Abdurrahman Wahid says the situation in East Timor is the nation’s fault.

The problems in the disputed territory were triggered by policies that caused dissatisfaction and protests among East Timor’s people, he told the press in Jakarta on Saturday.

Wahid, better known as Gus Dur, refused to blame the government and Armed Forces for the latest developments in East Timor, which he said now threaten national unity.

"We all already know from the beginning that violence happened there. Why did we keep silent? We cannot blame the government and military for this problem."

He said the East Timor situation should be a lesson for the entire nation, especially for the government, when it formulates regional development policies.

Election

Commenting on the Independent Election Monitoring Committee formed recently by students, Gus Dur lauded the "proactive idea".

"It’s a very good commitment. We need many observers to monitor the free and fair election, like students."

He said the students’ involvement in the committee is "a must", if the election is to be free and fair.

Gus Dur said the students should work with other independent election observers to compare findings relating to the June 7 poll.

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