Subject: DPA: Hurdles remain in E Timor dispute: Annan
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Deutsche Presse-Agentur February 11, 1999

Hurdles remain in East Timor sovereignty dispute: Annan New York

"Major hurdles" remain in the resolution of the sovereignty dispute in East Timor and more negotiations are needed to arrive at an acceptable solution, U.N. chief Kofi Annan said Thursday.

The international community will have to make "major efforts" to help parties in the dispute to reach a solution, Annan said.

"While I am pleased with the progress made, I would want to be a bit more cautious about celebrating yet," he said. "But I think we are moving in the right direction."

Foreign ministers Ali Alatas of Indonesia and Jaime Gama of Portugal met in New York on Monday and accepted a blue-print for "wide-ranging" autonomy in East Timor, a former Portuguese colony now occupied by Indonesia. The blue-print was worked out under the mediation of Annan's envoy, Jamsheed Marker.

But Jakarta has also offered the East Timorese independence in case the autonomy plan is rejected by the majority of the East Timorese. Indonesia's legistative body will begin discussing the independence plan in June and may grant East Timor the status its leaders have been calling for.

While the blue-print was adopted, the ministers and Marker warned that major differences have remained. The blue-print is now being studied by Jakarta and Lisbon and East Timorese leaders.

Senior officials from the two countries are scheduled to meet again on March 9 in New York, and they will be joined by the foreign ministers the following day to apparently wrap up the negotiations. dpa tn ma

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