|Subject: RT: Pro-Jakarta Groups Can Join Independent
Date: Fri, 02 Jul 1999 09:20:43 +0000
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Pro-Jakarta Groups Can Join Independent Timor Govt 03:33 a.m. Jul 02, 1999 Eastern
By Lewa Pardomuan
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Nobel peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta Friday offered pro-Jakarta forces a share in government if East Timorese vote for independence in an August referendum.
Ramos-Horta, one of Jakarta's sternest critics, told a news conference that he believed East Timorese would reject an offer of wide autonomy within Indonesia.
``If it...is in favor of independence, we call for a national conference of reconciliation and power sharing,'' Ramos-Horta said at the Jakarta house where resistance leader Xanana Gusmao is under house arrest.
``The pro-integration people will be invited to join us in a transitional administration for at least three years under the U.N. The Indonesian government will also be invited to take part with the U.N. in a transitional arrangement.''
Gusmao, widely seen as the likely first president of an independent East Timor, was sitting alongside Ramos-Horta as he spoke.
When asked what proportion of Timorese would choose independence, Ramos-Horta added: ``An overwhelming majority.''
Ramos-Horta arrived in Jakarta last week, for the first time since he fled East Timor two decades ago.
He left his homeland a few days before a Indonesia's invasion and has been a thorn in Jakarta's side since then, particularly since 1996 when he won the Nobel peace prize jointly with Bishop Carlos Belo, the territory's spiritual leader.
Indonesia's annexation of the territory in 1976 has never been recognized by the United Nations.
Ramos-Horta was in Indonesia to attend church-sponsored talks between warring pro-independence and pro-Jakarta factions. Wednesday the two sides restated a pledge to disarm ahead of the ballot, expected to take place around August 21 or 22.
However, such pledges have not stopped violence which has killed dozens since Indonesia announced in January it would consider giving East Timor independence. Ramos-Horta said he believed the Indonesian military backed pro-Jakarta militias blamed for the wave of killings and intimidation.
``There is a mounting evidence from the State Department, Australia, European Union, numerous journalists that at least there are elements of Indonesian army who are behind the militias,'' he said.
``Do you see any militias with arms roaming around Jakarta?''
But Ramos-Horta said he believed President B.J. Habibie was committed to solving the East Timor problem.
``President B.J. Habibie has the courage -- the courage of a statesman -- to try to change what he sees a wrong policy that is detrimental to Indonesia's national interest.''
Despite a decision by Jakarta to bar him from visiting East Timor, the Nobel peace laureate suggested it was in Indonesia's interest to let him go. Ramos-Horta has said he would like to go to East Timor in July or August, and would agree not to campaign.
``Let's us assume, the independence option wins. There will tens of thousands of people...parading around the country. You need people like Xanana Gusmao, my colleagues and myself to control the crowd,'' he said.
``That will be our intention to convey message of goodwill, the constructive approach to the people there. I wouldn't go back to East Timor to do political campaigning,'' he added.