|Subject: KY: Xanana calls for further pullout of
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 1999 12:04:02 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Xanana calls for further pullout of Indonesian troops
07/18/1999 Japan Economic Newswire Kyodo News International
TOKYO, July 18 --
Jailed East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao said Saturday pro-independence guerrillas in East Timor will not disarm unless the number of Indonesian troops in the region is reduced to about 1,000, two Japanese dailies reported Sunday.
Xanana made the remark in an interview with the Asahi Shimbun and the Yomiuri Shimbun at the Indonesian government facility in Jakarta where he is detained, the dailies said.
During the interview, Xanana dismissed Jakarta's claim that about 5,000 Indonesian troops remain in East Timor following several pullouts.
Xanana said he believes the Indonesian military still has about 12,000 troops in the former Portuguese colony.
If Indonesia agrees to cut the number to about 1,000, guerrillas under Xanana's leadership will agree to be demilitarized in several stages, he said.
He also said the planned referendum on East Timor 's status must be conducted in a peaceful environment, suggesting he will accept a further delay in implementing the ballot if it is necessary to secure such an environment.
The U.N.-sponsored ballot, which will allow some 400,000 East Timorese to effectively choose between independence or autonomy under Indonesia, is scheduled for either Aug. 21 or 22.
It was originally set for Aug. 8 but was delayed due to logistical and security concerns in the area.
Xanana is serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted of treason. Indonesia says it will not release him until the territory's status is decided.