Subject: Press Release
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 15:18:19 +0000
From: "etisc" <etisc@indigo.ie> Organization: ETISC

GROUP CALLS FOR UN OBSERVERS FOR TIMOR AS INDONESIA ANNOUNCES FREEDOM OFFER

PRESS RELEASE ATT. NEWSEDITORS

The East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign has called the Irish Foreign Minister to ask the UN to place observers in the territory in the wake of the announcement that Indonesia might grant independence to East Timor.

The Indonesian government announced today that it would consider independence for the former Portuguese colony if an 'autonomy' offer was rejected by the majority of the East Timorese people.

" While I welcome the announcement from Jakarta it must be backed up by action. The situation on ground in East Timor does not reflect the announcement as Indonesian troops are beginning to hand out hand guns and rifles to those Timorese who have collaborated with the occupation forces. This campaign is of the opinion that the process from here on in is going to be extremely painful for the Timorese with the Indonesian military attempting to provoke civil conflict, as they did in 1975, which may be used to sustain the presence of Indonesian troops in the territory. As an initial confidence building measure we are calling on the Indonesian authorities to allow the United Nations to station observers in the territory," said Tom Hyland of the ETISC.

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Hyland continued, " I believe that the expertise gained in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement can be utilised to help end the conflict in East Timor. The Irish Foreign Minister, David Andrews, who is highly respected in East Timor, can play a significant role in the process. He could, for example, raise the issue of UN peace-keepers at EU and Security Council level."

Since Indonesia invaded East Timor an estimated 200,000 Timorese, one third of the population, have perished under Indonesian occupation.

More information: 6770253-671 7207 or mobile 087 286 0122. East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign Suite 16, Dame House 24-26 Dame Street Dublin 2 Telephone 00 353 1 671 9207/ 677 0253 /623 3148 Mobile 087 286 0122 Fax 00 353 1 671 9207 Timorese Community in Ireland 00 353 1 453 1462 web http://indigo.ie/~etisc/ Offices in: Dublin Belfast Laois Galway Claremorris

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