Subject: E. Timor's Gusmao Opposes Sanctions on Indonesia

also: East Timor Leader Finds Solidarity In Brazil

E. Timor's Gusmao opposes sanctions on Indonesia

BRASILIA, April 1 (Reuters) - East Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao, raising funds in Brazil to help reconstruct his war-ravaged country, said on Friday that he did not favor international sanctions against former occupier Indonesia.

The Indonesian people are not to blame, Gusmao told a news conference in Brasilia, referring to almost 23 years of often brutal Indonesian occupation and last year's bloodshed after an East Timorese referendum favored independence.

Brazil, like East Timor, is a former Portuguese colony. Both countries speak Portuguese.

We are not asking for any sanctions against Indonesia. ... We know that the Indonesian people would suffer if there are international sanctions. ... The new Indonesian president (Abdurrahman Wahid) has asked for forgiveness, and it is enough for us, Gusmao said.

East Timor plunged into chaos last year after voters rejected a plan for autonomous status under Jakarta's control. The former territory is now under U.N. administration, with Gusmao widely seen as the popular favorite to become its first president when full independence is achieved.

Commenting on the future of East Timor, Gusmao, who has said before he will not run for the presidency, recommended a firm administration to unify the nation after its years of foreign occupation.

The independence leader has a busy schedule in Brazil, where he will stay until Thursday, meeting top politicians, prominent entrepreneurs and celebrities. He saw President Fernando Henrique Cardoso soon after arriving on Thursday.

Gusmao made clear he was not asking Brazil alone for funds with which to rebuild East Timor. International financial bodies estimate that reconstruction will cost about $322 million.

Brazil sent several dozen peacekeepers to East Timor when fighting flared up last year.

Some East Timor officials have accused Brazil of not helping enough, particularly given its historical and linguistic ties with Timor. Brazil's Foreign Minister Luiz Felipe Lampreia said in recent newspaper comments that Brazil had little to offer East Timor financially.

Associated Press March 31, 2000

East Timor Leader Finds Solidarity In Brazil

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP)--President Fernando Henrique Cardoso told the president of the Timor Resistance Council, Xanana Gusmao, Friday he would promptly recognize the country's sovereignty. Gusmao arrived in Brazil Thursday night for an official visit that will last one week.

"We have raised our voices many times in favor of East Timor's independence and now Brazil is getting ready to help in the construction of the new country," Cardoso said.

East Timor achieved its independence in September from Indonesia, which had invaded the country in 1975 after Portuguese colonialists withdrew.

Cardoso said the two countries have plans to collaborate in areas such as education, agriculture, health and public administration.

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