|Subject: Lusa: Independence Date Could Be
Set Next Month - Ramos Horta
East Timor: Independence Date Could Be Set Next Month - Ramos Horta 13 Nov-12:41
With independence now on the horizon, East Timor's political leadership has urged a visiting United Nations Security Council delegation to press former occupying power Indonesia to dismantle anti-independence militias and speed repatriation of refugees.
After talks in Dili Sunday, the territory's senior diplomat, Jose Ramos Horta, said a date for the formal independence of the UN- administered territory could be set at an international donors meeting scheduled for Brussels Dec. 5.
Declining to specify a specific date, Ramos Horta told Lusa that elections and full independence could be set for a period "between August and December 2001."
"In coming days we will hold intense consultations with the Security Council, (UN administration) UNTAET and other elements of civil society so that at the donors conference...we can concretely say when the date of independence should be," he added.
Ramos Horta also said that in meetings Sunday with the Security Council delegation, which is lead by council president Martin Andjaba of Namibia, Dili's leaders underlined how "vital" it was for the mission to get guarantees from Jakarta that it would dismantle anti- East Timor militia groups and "repatriate refugees as quickly as possible."
The Security Council team, which visited the militia-devastated southwestern town of Suai Monday, was scheduled to go to Indonesian West Timor Tuesday before flying on to the Indonesian capital.
Ramos Horta said Dili "recognized" Jakarta's "first steps" to disarm the militias but that it was necessary for Indonesia, "once and for all, to end any kind of support" from the armed forces to the paramilitary gangs.
Dili, he added, also was "skeptical" of Jakarta's commitment to a speedy repatriation of East Timorese, underlining discrepancies in numbers, with Indonesia talking of 150,000 refugees while East Timor's count was closer to 70,000.
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