Subject: UPDATE # 3 - Ramos Horta deeply sceptical over Indonesia's offer
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 13:29:05 -0000
From: "Paula Pinto" <>


Timor activist Ramos Horta deeply sceptical over Indonesia's offer

SYDNEY, Jan 27 (AFP) - East Timor resistance leader Jose Ramos Horta Wednesday rejected as a stunt Indonesia's claim that it will consider independence for the troubled province.

"My response is scepticism. I don't trust the Indonesian side. They never deliver what they promise," he told AFP.

"I believe it is no more than a smokescreen, a diplomatic stunt. Their aim is to win the good favour of the international community, while at the same time, they create terror in East Timor," he said.

Information Minister Yunus Yosfiah said Wednesday that Indonesia may let go of East Timor if Jakarta's latest offer of wide-ranging autonomy is rejected by the majority of the population there.

The Nobel peace prize winner was also deeply suspicious of Indonesian moves to shift rebel leader Xanana Gusmao out of the jail where he is serving a 20-year sentence and assign him a house to be designated as a prison.

"My only comment is, we will wait and see," said the exiled activist, who is now based in Sydney. "All they want to do is get some good international publicty."

Ramos Horta said Indonesia's real intentions toward the province it invaded in 1975 were clear.

"What matters for me is the reality on the ground in East Timor where people are being killed, women are being raped and torture is is rampant," he said.

"We demand the withdrawal of Indonesian troops, their replacement by an international police force and a referendum on self determination."

He predicted that the "overwhelming majority of East Timorese" would vote against Indonesia in a referendum.

©AFP 1999

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