|Subject: RT: U.S. official meets Gusmao, calls for
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 08:52:39 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
U.S. official meets Gusmao, calls for Timor peace
02:13 a.m. Apr 16, 1999 Eastern
JAKARTA, April 16 (Reuters) - A senior U.S. State Department official met East Timor guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao on Friday and called for a peaceful solution in the bloodied territory.
``The recent apparent escalation of violence is a great concern, something I've been discussing with Indonesian officials as well as with Mr Gusmao,'' said Stanley Roth, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs.
He was speaking ahead of a rally by Jakarta loyalists planned for Saturday in Dili, the capital of the former Portuguese colony that Indonesia seized in 1976.
Militiamen have threatened to arrest pro-independence East Timorese accused of intimidation and told pro-independence civil servants to quit the Indonesian administration there.
Roth said Washington was keen to see the problems of East Timor settled peacefully.
Violence in East Timor has intensified since Jakarta's abrupt announcement in January that it would grant the territory independence if its offer on a wide autonomy package was rejected. A U.N.-sponsored vote is scheduled to be held in July.
The escalation of violence prompted Gusmao to call on East Timorese to take up arms against Indonesian forces and pro-Jakarta militias. On Wednesday he stood by his call to arms despite an Indonesian government threat to return him to jail from house arrest. However, his lawyer said he would issue a clarification.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed it in the following year, in a move never recognised by the United Nations.